“The most important lesson of life is not academic, but being multitalented,” says Aalaa Takash
Zeinab Merai, Nabatiyyeh
“In times of hardship, the best of you will show,” says a wise friend of mine. Very true.
Many Lebanese, unfortunately, have succumbed to despair with the Coronavirus pandemic hitting harder at the Lebanese economy every day. But you can still spot creativity and resourcefulness around, as Aalaa Takash (also transliterated as: Alaa Takache) has shown.
Aalaa has a master’s degree from AUB in epidemiology and biostatistics, and she’s been a high-school teacher since 2010, but now she has her own “Treat Truck”, an idea she’s come up with “to find a second source of income.” In the blazing summer, her truck sits in Nabatiyyeh, where she, her husband and two other employees are making a living of the truck and treating citizens, including her students, to ice-cream and velvety sweets.
Discussing how she came across the idea, and believing it is at the heart of Islam to show resilience, Aalaa says, “In the middle of a global pandemic and a severe economic situation unexperienced in more than 50 years, I had to think outside the box.
So the idea was born out of a set of problems that I was facing. I really wanted my own business, but circumstances were not allowing me to have a typical one; I was considering renting a store or opening a restaurant, and I noticed the Lebanese loved new ideas, so I thought of a new one affordable to them.
Eventually, I found that a mobile truck would be affordable to me, too, and would save some time for family.
At a time of financial loss, I have created two jobs plus mine and my husband’s.”
Asked what she would do if the pandemic and the economy grew worse, she replies, “That’s a great question. If things get worse, I’m going to keep trying as long as I can. In a worst-case scenario, I can park the truck and wait. I’ll lose nothing.” She humorously adds, “In that case, I can treat myself with a hundred kilograms of ice-cream!”
As to her students’ reaction, Aalaa points out, “My students are amazed, and they are my biggest fans. They’re saying it’s such a great idea; usually teachers are only concerned with educational stuff. But this has been the most important lesson for them: You have to be multitalented to survive. You have to always think of other options to survive.
So my students are inspired and supportive, and it brings pride to me that I have been able to teach them the most important lesson of life, not one from books.”
The young entrepreneur also mentions “it is surely important for a husband and wife to have a really productive relationship. I couldn’t have accomplished anything had I been left on my own. My husband was with me all the steps of the way. I came up with ideas and plans, and he helped me execute them, specifically the difficult part of finding and dealing with raw-material providers.
He is extremely open-minded and appreciates my ideas. Someone else might have been pessimistic about the idea, but he was happy and excited.”
So if you’re on holiday in Lebanon, and when afternoons are lazy and heat is scorching, make sure you get yourself one or two of Aalaa’s velvety treats. Even if here for winter, you’ll still be offered a variety of the “Treat Truck’s” delicacies.
You can find “the Treat Truck” on Facebook (The Treat Truck), Instagram (the.treat.truck) and What’sApp (76480758). Bon appetite