Life in Rural Egypt
So what’s it like to travel in Egypt like an Egyptian?
I can tell you, it’s not easy, it can be challenging and for sure it will get you out of your comfort zone but its a lot of fun, a lot of exploration, unexpected discoveries and many beautiful encounters with the natives.
Join me as I continue to get the real taste of magnificent Egypt 🙂
The flight to Borg El Arab International Airport in Alexandria and then the following two hours drive to Al Beheira left me with little day light to do any exploration. The next morning, however, was a different story.
A roaster crowing outside woke me up early and I was more than eager to explore my surrounding.
My residence was humble like many of the houses in Egypt’s countryside. A one story house built of stone with apartment extensions to house members of the extended family.
Each apartment was self-sufficient; nonetheless, the hosting family shared one kitchen, courtyard and a living room to cut cost.
The courtyard was used for multiple purposes; a parking for the family’s tuk tuks, it had an oven made of plastered mud where most of the bread baking took place, an enclosure for farm animals like ducks, chickens, and roasters.
There was also a water pump and a faucet used for cleaning the dishes and doing the laundry. The roof was made of layered dried date palm and corn leaves allowing sunlight to pass through.
The living room had no furniture other than mattresses to sit on. It had a Television connected to NileSat which kept me updated with current affairs. It was also the place where all the family members met to eat and entertained guests.
Outside, the house was surrounded with agricultural fields and scattered rural houses. The roads leading to the houses were not planned nor paved.
There was a school, a clinic a short drive away, a pharmacy and a market. Close by, where the Nile Canals used to irrigate the surrounding farms locally referred to as “Teraa”, and many beautifully built pigeon cotes.
I spent many beautiful days enjoying the coziness of this residence. Baking bread, cooking, chatting and laughing with the hosting family.
I strolled the dirt roads of the village, sometimes harvesting yams with hardworking farmers, listening to their grievances.
It is so sad that farmers in the Middle East are always the most negatively affected by any economic crises even thought they are the backbone of their countries. Egyptian farmers are no exception. Long hours of working under the sun in all seasons, to sell their harvest or crop for nearly nothing 😦
Many times, the farmers would let me drive el Hantour which is a light, two-wheeled carriage drawn by a horse or mule” and as the song says “Wa at-hanter”. Who knew that steering a mule was so difficult. I almost ended up in canal many times if it wasn’t for their patience and quick responses 🙂
Truly, what better way to get to know Egypt than living with the locals, talking to them, cooking with them, sharing their good and bad times.
This is the only way to have an authentic travel experience.
Stay tuned for my next blog about Egypt:)
Writing & Photography
29th July, 2017
PS: This blog reflects my personal opinion and my personal take on many issues. Its not a scientific paper, the information used is based on internet searches and some scholarly articles. Its purpose is to entertain and everything mentioned is open for debate and correction. Content & Photos are copyrighted.