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Mubarak & AbdulRahman

Una giornata pigra ...

I spent the daylight hours indoors, with the door open, looking upon a tiny garden.

A bougainville rises above the uneven brick wall,
its pink flowers cover the threshold
The sun is up. The wind is gentle.
Souad Massi plays in the background.
I sit on the floor.

Last night, I cleaned my ears, using a cone made out of bandage, fastened with honey. I placed the tip of the cone inside my ear with my head horizontal on a pillow, lit the cone from the other side and let it burn. The dirt in my ears coagulated inside the lining. It was disgusting.

This morning, I could hear the birds clearer, but the sound of noise and roosters has drifted into the background like a soft hum.
Selective hearing at its prime.

Today, Mubarak stepped down from his throne.

Today was also a AbdulRahman's birthday, he turned five.
Yesterday, I promised his seven year old sister that I will celebrate the day with them, but today is here and they are not.
Their father shipped them off, without advance notice, to al-Sa'eed, 17 hours away. He squeezed them and their mother in a pick-up truck 'back home' this afternoon. The woman had only 40 minutes to pack everything and leave. They were destitute, so there was little to pack.

"I don't like it back there, they want to live exactly the way they did in the past, they don't want to change anything. There is no time to be alone, our taste in food is different. Being here is less headaches, even living with nothing, but it's so green over there, and the water is free."

Born in a village in the deep south of Egypt, she is now pregnant with #3. She is 31 years old and six months in. Unexpectedly well informed, this woman's eyes are always smiling, in spite of her fate to be coupled to a man beyond her mental capacity. She spent all her pocket money as a child on newspapers, and climbed palm trees against her grandfather's will. Her husband never read a newspaper in his life, he can hardly write his daughter's name. He used the excuse of "slow time at work and no income, she's pregnant, and there are people to take care of her over there." He had a big smile on his face when he boasted about sending them off later today.

This evening, I ate dinner with the men next door. I talked with an A3rabi(Bedouin) from the Northern Sinai. His ancestors come from Yemen, he is aseel , a true Arab. A level headed guy.
"The Sinai is it's own separate place, if it were independent it would sustain everyone on it."

A couple of grungy hippie blond stopped by to say "Mabrook" (congratulations) to the restaurant owner.
"Hayatkom il ba'iyah" he responded. (Hayatkom il ba'iyah: a phrase used in funerals and deaths.)

Tonight, I sit with the boys by the beach. I play cards with them for the first time.
It's a special day in Egypt.
The Fallaheen boys bring sharabat (an extra sweet strawberry/fruit drink drunk of special occasions.) We drink it, and don't talk about the political situation. In this city, the streets are empty, no mourning and no celebration. They bring out ice cream, and end the night with a cup of tea, listening to Obama speak about the egyptian uprising.
No one knows what tomorrow will look like.



leAnne said…
Lana, I love reading your mind. You have a way with words and love the sting of reality every once in a while. Looking forward to writing this summer again. Cant seem to do it with so much on my plate. Miss you.

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