Sunday, 8 January 2012

An Everyday Story

It is 5 am, Cairo Local Time. She has to wake up, no matter if it’s freezing cold, there is too much to be done.
Looking beside her to her sleeping husband, she gets up to wear a scarf and a shawl; those two pieces of clothing that never let her down no matter if it is summer or winter.
She goes to the bakery to get bread for the residents of the building for which her husband work as a doorman. She carries the big wooden bar and goes ahead to stand in the line, she had to stand from 5:30, in order to get the bread by 7 am.

She carries the 150 bread loaves over the wooden bar, back to the building and distributes them on the apartments.
She prepares a bucket containing water and soap, prepares breakfast and tea, wakes up her husband to have breakfast before he cleans the building residents’ cars, and sends her kids to go to school.
She goes up to get residents’ kids and take them down to schools buses; she goes to market to get the grocery to residents, carries back home about 25 kg of different stuff.
It is about 10 am, she has to head up for some of those apartments’ to clean them before noon. She finishes by 2 pm, just to rush down to start preparing lunch for her husband, did she have breakfast? She doesn’t remember.
She starts preparing lunch while watching school buses taking kids back home, she has to meet the kids and lead them to their apartments.
Did she finish lunch? Yes, time to send one of her kids to call her husband from the café to have lunch.
Her kids start their homework, and her husband  has gone for a nap, she goes up to help one of the residents  prepare food for the next week.
She goes down to her room, starts cleaning the day’s mess, prepares dinner. She hears her husband calling, and she gives him the money she collected for today’s work. And he leaves to meet his friends.
Bedtime, she thinks about her day and about tomorrow. She has to follow the same routine that she has, for 20 years. She is only 38, married for 20 years. She left her small village to move to the big city. Despite all that she does, officially, she doesn’t work. Her husband does. But in reality, she works all day long and he doesn’t.
She thinks about all the ladies she works for during her day, how lucky they are, elite, fashionable ladies. But she doesn’t know that most of them share her life, but only just in a different way.
The fancy lady on the first floor is a single mother working hard to afford life for her kids after her husband left her for another woman.
The cute woman on the third floor has to give all her salary to her husband in order to avoid his violence.
She doesn’t know that 34% of Egyptian women are the only financial suppliers to their families, and  a huge percentage of women are helping their families by earning for them, almost holding their own ground as earners, next to the husband or father.
 She  doesn’t know that this is a part of the system that includes most of women.
Women are unsupported, with no pension. Women are abused. They do everything without getting to enjoy even basic aspects of life.
She doesn’t know so much. It is a sad fact, a harsh reality, but no one tries to change that sad fact.
Although the numbers are purely statistics, you can find this story in any given situation on a street in Egypt.

By Nehal Ossama Elsoda

1 comment:

  1. This is officialy great! The narrative is excellent, the style is as straighforward as the daily pattern of the main charcater's life, and I surely do not need to comment on the theme.
    Well-done Nehal.Keep it up.