Corona vs. Craft

March 13th is a date that will be engraved on my brain for the rest of my life. It was my last time stepping foot into my old high school, and a day filled with terror and uncertainty for everyone in the United States. The coronavirus finally struck, and America was shutting down. For me, like so many other people, quarantine and lockdown was one of the worst things that had ever happened to me, a depressing cycle of waking up, doing school work, watching Netflix, and going to bed. I lost all motivation to read and write, my two favorite things to do in the world, and instead took naps all day. There was nothing exciting in my life, and my brain lacked the creative juices it needed to survive.

Strangely, as I learned when visiting the small mountain town of Chefchaouen, for the Moroccan entrepreneur Anouar, quarantine for some people was a time of creation. He told me he put his diploma of economics to use and taught himself how to create his own website.

“Can I show you my website? I would love an American’s opinion!” He opened it up and pointed at the site www.craftzone.shop. “Do you think it’s good? Should I change anything?” His excitement was boiling over and it seemed like he forgot to breathe between his questions.

“It looks amazing!” I told him. “I love the way it’s organized and the background color of your site. Very simple, but effective.” Three other UNE students nodded their heads in agreement.

“How did you do it?” all four of us asked at the same time.

“Oh! I taught myself, all by myself,” he responded without hesitating.

No way! I thought to myself. Technology is not my strong suit, and creating your own professional website seemed almost miraculous. “But how did you learn how to do it?” I asked.

“Thanks to the lockdown,” he said. Without being cooped up inside, he wouldn’t have had the time to build Craft Zone Shop. Since he was so focused on the creation of his store, the time just flew by.

I compared his experience to mine. Being completely immersed in his creation gave him something creative to do, which wasn’t my experience. After all, you can only watch so many Netflix movies in one day.

Now Anouar’s business is prospering, and he scrolled through some of his most recent orders that contained over thirty items. Craft Zone Shop sells an assortment of things from poofs to pillowcases to even seat covers and more. They are all meticulously handmade and — don’t worry — he does international shipping. Anouar was so excited to host us students that he gave us each a pillowcase as a thank you.

He left me with an even more precious gift – a life lesson. It was amazing to see that as coronavirus ravaged the world, he was able to take a break from his hectic schedule and put his heart in a place he was never able to before.

Payton Sammons  is an English major at the University of New England.

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