It was such a journey!

Ashraquet Fakhris from Egypt shares thoughts on her Tandem journey. She was working in Tandem with Dhafer Nasraoui from JCI Rades, Tunisia, on a project "A Craft’s Narrative Between Two Countries".

I am Ashraquet Fakhry, a cultural heritage practitioner and conservation science student from Asyut, Egypt.

As a Tandem 360 participant, I work with Dhafer Nasraoui from JCI in Rades, Tunisia and we’ve had a quite different experience that I’d like to share.

Let’s start from the very beginning!

This whole Tandem experience was a new thing to me. I usually work as a freelancer or conduct some workshops but this was my first time to participate in a program where I knew that I’ll work with other people – with MANY PEOPLE!
I was super excited, even with the remote meetings and all, it was amazing! If you are a Tandemian, I believe you can imagine the excitement.

It has been a year since the first meeting and now I have a chance to reflect on what happened in the last year. I say that what happened wasn’t what I expected, at all. After the first meeting, I had already a plan of what I wanted to do with Dhafer, plans about my mobility, my placement.

But when we started to work on the ground we realized that we need to get more flexible because it’s not always as we want, not only this, but also the COVID restrictions.
Well, not just the COVID – and this was an important lesson I learnt during my Tandem journey – we need consider other people’s life updates because we never know what can happen.

Lesson learnt

Another great lesson I learnt from both Dhafer and Tandem mentors is the need to continuously support each other since we are committed to a certain agreement, project or anything, not just to let go but to try to think together and find a solution.
This might sound very cliché but there is always a solution for everything and anything in Tandem, and I wouldn’t be able to realize this without having our different collaboration in Tandem where we faced organizational challenges as well as extreme changes in our personal lives.

Without such experience, I guess I wouldn’t have learnt what I know today; maybe sometimes I think that I wanted a normal Tandem experience but I know now what a good cultural manager means – it is not about successful projects but it is about people involved in the process.

My journey was different but it was good to find support along the way and I really wish one day managers and practitioners in the cultural/cultural heritage field get the chance to be supported and to support others.