I know when you are on holiday in Egypt the constant requests for tips or baksheesh are wearing. In fact it can put you off. I want you to understand what it is like for a man here.
Firstly they marry late because they have to wait until they can afford to provide for their wife. My boat captain married last week in his late 30’s. A man with backing like my brother in law can marry earlier. And remember that Egyptian ladies will wait for marriage.
Secondly they will have a lot of children, they have to, with no social support or pensions it is your children that provide for you.
Thirdly few have a ‘proper’ job, in Luxor there is no industry, no manufacturing no way for a young man to make money except on the fringes of tourism. That is why you get hassled, they are desperate.
And at the moment they are very desperate, I am sure that you have read about world food shortages, this is affecting Egypt as well. I used to buy 7 pieces of bread for 1 Egyptian pound, now it is 4 medium pieces (long thin rolls actually). I can afford it, thanks be to God. But at the subsidized bakeries there are queues, see the picture.
So when you bargain down from 20 LE to 15 LE which is for you 1 dollar it is for them life or death. They call bread ayish here it means life (in other Arab countries it is called khoubz). It is served at every meal and sometimes it is all they have. Then think about them trying to buy medicines, I am diabetic and insulin costs me 95 Egyptian pounds and lasts me 15 days, how do you think the ordinary Egyptian manages this price. Education is free but books, pens, uniforms are not.
So remember that one dollar and please be generous
This entry was posted on Friday, April 11th, 2008