A stroll down the back streets of Beypazari revealed rows of shops accommodating traditional trades that had disappeared from my home country many years ago. One of the tradesmen was Ahmet and he was a coppersmith called a bakirci or a kalayci in Turkish.
His shop stood out because of the sign that displayed his full name. The surname translated into “duck” which I thought was comical. As it turned out, I was not the first person to mention this to Ahmet but he was still kind enough to invite me into his shop to see him at work.
He was certainly busy, mainly with repeat customers he said. As well as making new Beypazari copper items, he cleaned and repaired existing pots and pans. Turkish housewives were dropping off their kitchen items as if Ahmet was the only person who could perform a job to their standards.
His shop was small and dusty. Beypazari copper items were everywhere, piled up on the floor and wooden shelves. If I spent lots of time in there, I would have felt claustrophobic but it suited Ahmet and he was in his element as he worked.
He was also looking forward to a travel fair in Izmir. The local council had asked him to attend and display his trade to companies with an aim to bringing more tourism to the region. While Ahmet spoke proudly about his father who taught him everything he knew, there was slight disappointment when talking about his son.
Ahmet is not sure if the family tradition will carry on. He knows there are bigger and better opportunities in the world to earn more money and be more successful.
I suppose it really depends on your definition of success. I turned my back on the rat race years ago and hamper after the good old-fashioned trends that I fear will disappear from our world, replaced with technology.
Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles that he has overcome.
Booker T. Washington