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Saudi- Al-Harbi brothers beat the odds by selling tea at Jeddah Corniche  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 11/03/2014
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(MENAFN -Arab News) With the specter of unemployment hanging over many Saudis at present to the extent that it casts its shadow over many economic functions and forums including the upcoming Jeddah Economic Forum (JEF 2014), there are still some determined Saudis who never give up eking out an existence by all means

The Al-Harbi brothers are a vivid example of such will power and stubborn grit in finding a job. They not only found a job but also refused to give up. They have started the simplest daily business that anyone can imagine — a mobile street tea shop with a variety of teas in addition to coffee

Mohammed Al-Harbi said that they started this “refreshing” business along the Jeddah Corniche using the most essential equipment such as large teapots, a big table, disposal cups, bottled water, some homemade cake and coal

He said that they serve most kinds of tea from Taifi (with mint), Adani (with milk, ginger and cinnamon), Moroccan, and normal dark tea, all of which are brewed on an open coal fire

“The tea and coffee are sometimes served along with homemade millet cake which my brothers make at home. I think that I can earn a monthly income of SR6,000 or SR7,000 out of this kind of job,” he said

Sometimes, the income can double in peak seasons such as Eid, weekends and vacations, he added

His brother, Wael, said that selling tea in such a busy place as the Corniche attracts many passersby, strollers and drivers. Most of our customers are young, and are extremely tempted by the tea brewed on hot coals accompanied by the delicious millet cake

“I study at university in the morning and come here in the afternoon to run the tea business,” he said

The Al-Harbis said that at first they were very frustrated at not finding any job to support their family. However, the tea concept came to them about two years ago and they found they could make a good income from it

“We must encourage Saudi youths to be ready to fight for a job and not just surrender to the hopelessness of unemployment. There are still great opportunities in other free jobs, businesses and entrepreneurships which can bring a very good income

In fact, free jobs and trades can also refine one’s experiences in life and broaden practical knowledge.&rdquo

Talking about the challenges, they said that unfortunately the biggest obstacle are the municipal monitors who chase them from one spot to another on the pretext that they are illegally squatting on other people’s properties.” Nevertheless, the owner of the land has approved our presence there and encouraged us to use the area for this business. The municipality’s rules stipulate that we should rent a kiosk at a very high cost which is unaffordable.&rdquo

They said that they hope that the Corniche’s stalls can be available for young Saudis at low prices to encourage them to embark upon a free business as many of those young vendors have resorted to such jobs after suffering from lack of employment opportunities

Abdullah Mahfouz, Usamah Hamza and Abbas Al Shahrani are three close friends and regular customers of Al-Harbi’s tea business. They all agreed that this is the best tea they have ever tasted with its special smoky aroma from the coal. They also recommend the Ma’moul and cake served with the tea

“We come here in free times and holidays — especially in mild cool weather — to enjoy sipping the aromatic tea and sweet millet cake and dates Ma’moul.&rdquo

An American Muslim expat, Yousuf Al-Mukhtar said that he is keen to come here and enjoy the remarkable cake and drink Moroccan tea on a weekly basis. He added that seeing young Saudis full of hope and energy in running tea stalls is something very admirable. “The tea business on the Corniche could really contribute to attracting many people to the area and help in reviving the movement in these places. These stalls do really provide a unique and lovely ambience for young people to meet and gather.&rdquo

Fahad Al-Shafe’I, another regular tea drinker said that the government and private sector should support and push the youths to get into such free businesses and professions which hone their experiences and open avenues to more profitable jobs later. It would also save them from being victimized by the “ghost of unemployment.”


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