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Album: By Country | By Date Egypt | March 2001 < Prev: Luxor and Luxor Temple | Next: The Luxor Museum >
Travelogue: By Country | By Date Egypt | March 2001  

March 2001 - El Koom

A marvelous day at a West Bank village with a friend, Rageb Ahmed Sallam

Maggie and Ragab in the El Koom school.  We all like Ragab, one of the workers in the hotel, but Maggie and Ragab spent hours goofing around with each other. Who is that odd-looking guy in the back.  The school was built about 15 years ago with help from USAID.  The classrooms looked very much like our classrooms in Liberia - open windows, little on the walls, blackboards made from painted boards.  Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of the chalkboard in the mathematics class - addition of mixed numbers, in arabic, of course.
The playground.  Arabic grammar class.  The teachers said they were paid about 150 Egyptian Pounds per month, about $45, per month.  School ends around midday. Ragab's two best friends are these two teachers.  All three grew up together.  I asked whether they had any desire to leave or do anything else, and they looked at me as if I were crazy.  They seem to really love their village and the life there.  Correcting copybooks
Ragab's family's house is a short walk from town Wheat field and the abrupt end of the Nile valley.  The absence of any transition from wet, fertile ground to bone-dry, parched desert is stunning.  I really couldn't stop looking at it. Ahmed.  Currently the youngest in the family.  He is Ragab's nephew - smart, active, and happy. In Ragab's room, trying to separate Ahmed from the colored pencils
The roof and pigeon roosts.  The house recently got electricity and now has a tv and refrigerator.  The roof is gives shade, but when it rains - every few years or so - things get wet. Tote and Ahmed checking out kittens near drying mudblocks Our favorite meal on the whole trip: three loaves of traditional bread (there was a small mud oven outside - the family has a small wheat field and a mud and straw granary that looked as if it would hold less than 50 gallons.  There's a mill in town to make flour), two bowls of fool (bean stew), tomatoes and salt, roasted sesame seeds, pickled vegetables, and an omelet. Walking back to the village
Stopping for tea at a friend's house On the launch back to Luxor The launch was steered by a sharp and very short boy who said he was 13.  On the mini-bus, a fellow kidded him about being born in a sugar cane field and the boy said, "So, you?  You were born in a palace?" Watching ants
Correcting copybooks Maggie and Ayman, another friend she met at the hotel all of us with Ayman Maggie with the all of the maids.