"It's tedious but I find peace" - A Baku cobbler
Cobbler Maharram Aliyev
Maharram Aliyev, 50, works as a shoemaker. He started this craft at the age of 28. For more than twenty years he has supported himself and his two children this way.
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Maharram usta (master) in various years worked in a shoe shop and mini-factories. After the shoe business took a dive in the country, he opened his own workshop.
Maharram says the increase in variety and opportunity is making cobbling obsolete. “There are already fewer shoes being worn for repairs. Now you can buy new shoes cheaper than repairing old ones, although not of high quality. So I mainly make shoes for non-standard feet. But such orders are also very rare.”
According to Maharram, incoming orders vary depending on the complexity of the repair work.
“Sometimes the job is done in a day, sometimes it takes just an hour. There are even jobs that take days. They bring peeled shoes that are difficult to fix. This kind of work is very tedious. But I love my job and enjoy it. Although I get tired at work, I also find peace.”
The shoe molds on the shelves grab my attention. Maharram says that shoe molds are different for each size and each model. He used to order these from Turkey, but now he can easily buy them in Baku.
Maharram believes that it is useful for young people to learn some craft besides education.
“No one knows what will happen in life. You may not find a job that matches your education. Or you may suddenly lose your job. If you have the skills, there will always be a job that will provide you with an income.”
Author: Rasmiyya Jalali
This story is part of the “Tell Me About Yourself” media project, where young Azerbaijanis whose families were displaced by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict tell their stories. The authors are solely responsible for the content.This is a European Union-funded project undertaken by International Alert and GoGroup Media.