(Ariha, Idlib, Syria) Every morning, 27-year-old Abu Saʿd, a buquliyyat (sautéed fava beans) seller, goes to work, and every day, you find him roaming one of the squares of Ariha, or standing in front of one of its schools, waiting for the children and youths to buy his cups of salted fava beans mixed with lemon slices.
Abu Saʿd received his elementary education at a school close to his house. Nonetheless, he was forced to quit school and work with his father due to the poverty of his family. At 13 or 14 years old, the fava beans seller was employed in many freelance jobs which were unsuitable for his age, such as stone carrying and sculpture. At 27 years old, he ended up behind this cart which earns him just enough money to feed his wife and child.
Every day, Abu Saʿd leaves the house early with his wife’s prayers, as she fears for his life under regime shelling. The woman also helps him with work at night as she shells and boils the fava beans and prepares the special dressing.
“I love my city. I had always missed it while I was away, unable to enter it because of the regime forces present in it. And here I am today speaking to you in Ariha, in front of my old school (1),” Abu Saʿd told Good Morning Syria, smiling.
A coalition of opposition forces, the Jaysh al-Fath, seized the city of Ariha, ousting regime forces, on 28 May 2015.