Saturday, June 18, 2005

The poor in Egypt

Hanan, 3 orphans, 100 pounds from pension
Hammad, 4 kids, retarded
Rawya (Bahbouha), 7 orphans, deaf, unemployed, no pension
Rabee'a, 5 kids, deaf husband
Fatma, 5 girls, husband died after kidney failure
Um Hashim, widow, 58 pounds from pension, heart disease
Eatemad, 2 girls and 1 boy, divorced, 90 pounds income, the daughter is sick
Um Mohammed, 2 kids, no income, husband has kidney failure
Fayza, 5 kids, husband has kidney failure
Fay'a, 4 orphans
Fawzeya, 2 handicapped kids
Mabrouka, one daughter paralyzed, the other unmarried
Manal, burnt
Mostafa, paralyzed
Saeed, handicapped with one leg, died.
Samara, died.

and the list goes on, and on, and on, and on.

Everytime I do this I have mixed feelings of relief and satisfaction, as well as pity and helplessness. That Chinese proverb always hits me hard, to teach someone how to fish, versus giving them the fish to eat.

We used to walk around from house to house, which made the experience have a much stronger effect on me. Now, they're way too many to walk around their houses. The poor in Egypt are getting poorer, and their numbers is constantly on the rise, and they all have rights.

My grandmas used to own many of the surrounding land, but now the city slums have crawled in eating most of it, and inhabiting the village with the poor, and that's the only connection we have left with the place.

I've realized a while back that the few progressive thoughts I have regarding women, are not because I spent sometime in the West, not because of Laura Bush or Suzanne, and not because of our Sheikhs who preach that Islam liberated women but believe and act differently, but because of my family and my grandmothers. The two of them who were among the first female physicians in Egypt back in the 40's, and even the one who stayed home to support them while they're in medical school, and how they raised my mother and aunts as independant characters. While abit snobbish and crazy, yet full of compassion and progressiveness that they're instilling in a generation without knowing it.

Still, the poor remain poor, but with many good hearts in this country that keeps it going, and many good minds that try to teach the helpless how to fish (here's a good example of those minds).

4 comments:

landon said...

so you're a visionary?
keep on truckin.

Twosret said...

This is one of your best posts. It reminds me of Baheyya's article about the forgotten (poor soldiers who became slaves of the president).

This is the kind of women that politicians use and abuse for their personal wealth. This is the kind of women that they claim that they care for when in reality they add to their misery.

Sad!

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Egyptian dust said...

great blog

poverty in Egypt is heartbreaking.

This country is structured so that the poor can't help themselves. the rich have the power to lift the poor out of their poverty. We can all do something, yes you, so go do whatever you can, be it giving a net or a fish. We're not called to eliminate poverty but we can do what we can, no?