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Egypt, in the countryside, reportage, Daniela Shams

Egypt | Where Fascination and Culture Meet

The original photograph of ” In the Countryside” by Daniela Shams is available as a limited edition. Buy here and get a piece of joy of life!

Egypt is a country full of contrasts. As soon as you leave the tourist routes, you inevitably feel drawn into another world. And this one is magical, fascinating and above all instructive. If we put aside European arrogance and look humbly at the daily life in Egypt, new perspectives will inevitably open up.

A neutral view is something I cannot provide in this article. Because I lived for twelve years in the North African country. I am immersed in culture, traditions and mentality. I have observed and learned a lot about life. This process was one of the most important. The many little details showed me that (European) life is not always perfect. Because with the ever-present idea of a “modern world”, it sometimes lacks substance.

Egypt – Wondrous Home of My Heart

Whether I like it or not, Egypt is in my heart. Merged with the people and culture, I set off once again on a journey to a region where everything began for me back then. In Quena. Even if many Egyptians smile about me – I love this city, the small villages along the Nile and its canals. Only God knows where this deep bond comes from.

There are moments when I can hardly believe it myself, because everything feels like “being at home”. And although I have never lived here, I still have the most beautiful memories.

Egypt, in the countryside, reportage, Daniela Shams
In the Country | Egypt | @ Daniela Shams

Men ride donkeys from one village to another. Where they live, they seem to be from another century. The fields are worked by hand, even though the sun is still blazing in the late afternoon. In long galabyas, men can be seen everywhere taking care of a rich harvest. From a European perspective, these long dresses may seem medieval. Indeed, they are.

Old-fashioned carries the idea of sustainability

But the Egyptians were already quite clever in ancient times. Because the long dresses provide – let’s put it in modern language – a very good microclimate. Sweat can escape, air is supplied – a perfect exchange like in the multi-function shirt today. In addition, they are made of cotton, which means they are also natural and even have sustainable effects due to their long life.

In this report, I talk about three topics:

Harvest time at the mango farm

A mango tree in Egypt
A mango tree in Egypt shortly before harvest | @ Daniela Shams

The Egyptian irrigation system

Traditional Egyptian recipes

Three topics that inevitably belong together

For Egyptians, food plays a central role. Preparing meals, eating together or inviting guests literally speaks proverbial volumes. Behind almost every plate there is a symbolism that has been preserved over many generations. So a guest should not think of bringing something for dinner. It would be taken as an extreme insult to certify the woman of the house as incompetent in the kitchen.

Huge contrasts between cultivation and population

A country like Egypt, with a population of 100 million today, needs to be fed. Vast quantities of wheat, meat, fish and vegetables are prepared daily in the country’s kitchens. Nevertheless, only a maximum of 5 % of the land is cultivated.

Quena, Egypt, in the countryside, Lifestyle Magazine
In the countryside | In the evening after the mango harvest | © Daniela Shams

Desert land is desert land, and it requires extremely hard work to turn the hot desert sand into cultivated land. Most of the time it does not succeed, and therefore any habitat around the Nile is highly sought after. Almost every family owns a piece and it is cultivated almost all year round. Tall palm trees stand next to the fields. They give sweet dates. Figs, spiny figs, oranges, bananas and mangoes. As soon as the fruits are ripe, there is a fruity-sweet scent in the air.

Egypt, mango farm, in the country, reportage
At the mango farm in Qena | @ Daniela Shams

The Mange harvest in Upper Egypt begins in early July and ends in August. I visit a farm with several thousand mango trees. A group of workers has arrived to pick the sweet, delicious fruits by hand and pack them into boxes. They have to take the degree of ripeness of the fruit into consideration. The mangoes shouldn’t be too ripe. Otherwise they would not survive the transport and would spoil.

Do you like the cover image “In the countryside”?

The original photograph of ” In the Countryside” by Daniela Shams is available as a limited edition. Buy here and get a piece of joy of life!

July to August: Mango harvest in Egypt

So the fruits are harvested just before their best ripeness. They are still firm, but ripening. The timing must be well chosen. Until they are packed into boxes, they lie well bedded on huge mats in the shade of the trees. Different varieties grow on the farm with different harvest times. Different varieties grow on the farm with different harvest times.

Egypt, in the countryside, meeting at the mango farm
Meeting at the Mango Farm | © Daniela Shams

To ensure a good harvest, the trees are watered daily. At night, they are supplied with the valuable water via a long, underground irrigation system. In general: water in Egypt. That, in turn, is another topic I will deal with in the next article.

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