Wednesday, January 29, 2014


White chalk handprints on a red wall are meant to convey good fortune and ward off the evil eye. Sometimes blue handprints are specially used for this, but any colour or medium works.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Mercedes Horse

In the first world, horses are essentially very high class pets. They are used for sports, fun, companionship, but very little for work. In Egypt, there are enormous numbers of families who depend on horses for their livelihood. There are plenty of animal rescue sites that post pictures of poor, thin working horses here but there are also wonderfully fit, cared for horses that we call Mercedes horses. Their owners do everything they can to take care of them. This horse was standing in one of the poorest areas of Cairo, but the care is very evident.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Waiting Room

Families gather on the sidewalk along the Nile just opposite the government cancer hospital in Kasr el Aini. Their loved ones are inside perhaps getting chemotherapy, but they are waiting outside on the sidewalk where vendors sell tea and snacks. I want to tell them that they should be so thankful that they are living in a country where the weather allows this informal system...but on the other hand, they should live in a country where the hospitals are funded properly.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ruffled Ears

A mule has long ears, so what better to decorate when the clipping men come around. Many of the carters will do a body clip of their horses or mules since they are going to be working quite hard and usually sleeping indoors. This mule had this lovely ruffled design clipped into his ears.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Old Friends Care For Each Other

An older farmer's concern for his water buffalo's sore foot is clear in his face as he waits for the vet to come examine her at one of the Rural Wellness Initiative vet clinics. He was first in line for seeing us there. The buffalo had a crack in the sole of her foot and the treatment was quite simple really, frequent washing with betadine to keep it clean. Photo by Tulip Afifi.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

White Donkeys

The original donkeys were grey with black stripes on their legs, a black bar over their shoulders and a black stripe down their back. Somewhere along the line in Egypt the predominant colour for donkeys has become white and I have no idea why. But this had to have been one of the whitest donkeys I've ever seen

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Consummate Carriers

Egyptian women carry the universe on their shoulders. Not only are they working hard to care for their families, but many of them live the way I remember my mother living when I was young, without a car, having only the basic mechanical aids to help clean (we were turned loose with old socks on to polish the floors), and being pretty much solely responsible for their homes and children. So most of them walk a lot and often are carrying offspring. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Locked In

Some of the heavy old doors on mosques and palaces in Cairo have some beautiful locks installed. Of course the keys are skeleton keys and security wasn't all that great, but the locks are gorgeous.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Camping Life

Every summer a group of Bedouin move around our area with some fairly large herds of cows that they graze in the fields that have been harvested. They usually find a field where the owner is willing to let them put their tents for a month or so before moving on. Out here in the countryside where we still have unblocked breezes for air conditioning, these tents make a lot of sense.

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