Apart from the relatively recent use of motorboats, life along the Nile in Cairo has not changed radically for several thousand years.
Apart from the relatively recent use of motorboats, life along the Nile in Cairo has not changed radically for several thousand years. Its waters have provided a living for fishermen who spend almost 90 percent of their lives in their boats and women and girls have washed laundry on its banks times of the Pharaohs.
The section of the Nile that glides smoothly through Cairo is the most fascinating part of the 4,000-mile(6440-km) river. This VISNEWS film outlines some of the day to day activities on the Nile, showing how a waterway can retain its character despite the modernisation of the surrounding environment.
SYNOPSIS: The Nile -- artery of the Middle East. The river has been a means of transport for merchandise for centuries....tugs and barges carry baled cotton northward, agricultural machinery and vehicles southward. In recent years, the Nile running through Cairo has become a tourist attraction, a river where a way of life unchanged since the times of the Pharaohs still retains its character despite the surrounding modernisation.
The Nile fishermen spend 90 per cent of their lives on their boats, catching the small river fish to sell in the local markets. Their way of life has remained unchanged for centuries. They claim that no degrees of modernisation will affect their working lives...they fish in the same areas, mend their nets in the same way and build their boats in the same style as their predecessors of several thousand years ago.
Much of Cairo's population depends entirely on the waterway for its living. Labourers hire themselves out by the day, carrying cargoes -- in this case stones for some roadside repairs -- or doing repair work on boats and nets.
Women and girls have used the river to wash clothes since the beginning of Egyptian civilization. The river serves as a social gathering point for the women...after thousands of years, they feel no need to change their ways.
In the small river villages on the Nile, the street traders sell their ancient crafts regardless of the mass production factories only a few miles away. While some say they would obviously prefer the higher wages of the factories and the rise in living standards, others claim what was good enough for their ancestors is good enough for them.
With Egypt's increasing programme of development, some feel that the character of the Nile will be swamped with modern services. But a river that has dictated a way of life for thousands of years, they claim, can adapt to the times.