COSI’s Lost Egypt Exhibition

COSI Visits Life on an Egyptian Farm by Carli
March 8, 2008, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Author: Carli

On our way back to the hotel after a long hot day in the Valley of the Kings, with another layer of tomb dust on our boots, and astounding photos and memories locked in our minds, we stopped at a small farm house in the middle of a sugar cane field. We took photos and video of the young men working in the field, and were invited into the mud-brick house by the father and his two wives (yes, two).

They must have had ten or twelve children, who were gracious and showed us around their home. The floors and walls were made of mud, and their beds were made of sheets on the ground. The children wore tattered clothing and pajamas but were well fed and laughed contagiously. One of the older girls grabbed my hand and said, “madam, madam, I show you something.”

With cautious curiosity I followed her into a roofless room in the house which housed their animals. One of the goats had a young kid, which couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old. The girls picked up the baby animal and brought him to me to pet. Their cows were a bit spooked by our invasion, and I kept tripping over ducks and buckets of feed. Then the father motioned me over to the donkey for a test ride. I climbed up onto their donkey, and they placed one of their youngest daughters in front of me.

We had a great laugh, and the older daughter who had led me around the home asked if it was my first time on a donkey, which was clearly evident from the way the poor animal shifted from side to side trying to remove the obvious rookie from his back. We thanked them for their hospitality and gave them “baksheesh” (tips) for their willingness to share their lives on camera, and then we somehow switched off the urge to cry, and got back on our air-conditioned bus to hit the hotel buffet before the crowds.

The family was strong, happy, and healthy, yet their livelihood might as well have been on another planet. It was so foreign. Our guide, Ehab, said that the farmer probably makes at most $2000 Egyptian pounds per month, which is the equivalent of about $400 US dollars. But he also said that this is the lifestyle that they are used to; they wouldn’t know what to do with any more. Yet somehow I can’t help but wish to do more.

Adventures of Being an American by Carli
March 6, 2008, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Author: Carli

Before coming to Egypt, I was asked by countless friends and family to die my hair in order to better blend in. Well clearly there is no blending for our group. We are loud, boisterous Americans with giant equipment, and sunburned skin (sorry Mom). The local women are mostly wrapped in their traditional hegab, headscarf, and often follow behind the men in their group. So I prepared myself for some serious discomfort, but have found that it is certainly not the case.

The people are warm and friendly, and have an amazing sense of humor. Almost everyone we have encountered speaks a bit of broken English, and enjoys our long pause of mass befuddlement as we sort through their casual sarcasm. They are delighted by our tourism and of course, our checkbooks. I do get a few uncomfortable stares, and the occasional shouted comment, which I am glad not to understand, but it is not any more than would be expected walking through a parking lot of tailgaters before a Bengals game.

And if I could pick one highlight from today’s adventures, it would be when our Egyptologist, Bahaa Gaber, showed us how to write COSI in hieroglyphics. I shot a video of this, but because there wasn’t much light it didn’t come out after uploading it to YouTube.

PS – The last tomb we visited today was called Amenkherkhepshaf. Say that three times fast. Or maybe even just once.

Inside Epuy’s Tomb – Showcase of Art