I've barbecued a lot of ribs, hamburgers and chicken in my time, but I never stopped to think where the charcoal came from, other than from a nice bag at the grocery store. Out here in the farmland, however, there are small corners of land where the owners of trees that have to be trimmed can sell their wood to the charcoal burners. These people layer the wood carefully and then cover it all with wet straw. The wood and straw are then covered with a layer of dirt and old charcoal and the wood is set alight. It burns very slowly over a number of days and then the fire is put out. When everything is cool, the mounds are opened and the charcoal is taken out and put into bags, but usually old feed bags out here. And that's how they do it.
I came to Egypt as the wife of an Egyptian/Canadian businessman and the mother of our children in the late 80's. My husband is no longer with us, the children are pursuing careers abroad, but Egypt is still my home, albeit, a rural rather than urban one. You can reach me at msgabbani at gmail.com