Cabbage stand in small village, Dahab Island
Cabbage stand in small village, Dahab Island

The drive to Giza follows the Ring Road, which crosses the Nile on a wide bridge. Two months back, I recall looking below to see an island dense with crops and was puzzled. Gezirit el-Dahab“, or Gold Island, is 4.5 km long and about 1km across at its widest point.  One Egyptian Pound (about $0.15) pays for a boat ride from the edge of the Corniche to the island.

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Cairo in the background, grazing cow on Dahab Island

In five minutes, one travels from dense Cairo to farmland, defying the logic of urban development. Clunky bicycles and donkeys tread worn dirt roads. My colleague, Betty, with her modest Arabic, was able to help us navigate taking photographs of some children. A prompt “La-ah” (No) was often delivered, but the community was welcoming, accepting of our desire to document their surroundings.

IMG_8500 smallThe poverty of the area is prominent. While girls wash dishes on the banks of the Nile, older women transport water on their heads, as you would see in any rural 3rd world country. And yet, this is all in the heart of Cairo. One more layer pulled back.