Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
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Online Since 1999
The Egyptian Series
The Egyptian Farm
of the stops on our unending trip is at an Egyptian farmhouse
where ten people live in the small flat-roofed concrete and mud
brick home. The grandmother is the head of the household , but
an older son talks to us about their life, while his young children
run around playing with sticks in the dirt and the grandmother
builds a fire in an outside oven. The son speaks excellent English.
The women are in Muslim dress. The grandmother wears black and
a black shawl. and her daughter-in-law wears red and a red
scarf. Several generations live together as is the custom in
Egypt. The children are dressed in western clothes. All are
beautiful with big eyes and happy smiles. One tiny girl is still a
toddler, so small she can use a soccer ball as a seat. Soccer
is the major sport played in Egypt where they call it
We see only inside the main room of the house. The floor is
rough concrete or hard dirt and there is a carpet on part of the
floor, pictures of relatives on the walls, and a water jug in the
corner. Much living seems to be done outside where there is a large
shaded courtyard with benches and a table. We are served the
customary hibiscus tea.
On the front of the house, words are painted in Arabic that say the
occupants have traveled to Mecca. Muslims are supposed to go to
Mecca once in a lifetime if they can afford it. We suppose
that they probably earned the money to go by entertaining tourists.
The family takes great pride in the fact that the grandmother and son have been to Mecca, and regret that the
grandfather died without every being able to go.
In back of the house is another courtyard with stairs to the roof
where things are stored and the family sometimes sleeps. Because
there is so little rain, things can be stored in jars outside. Off
the back courtyard is a chicken pen and the chickens that provides
eggs. The water buffalo that grazes by the river provides milk.
The people grow wheat and grind it by hand with stones. After
bread dough rises in the sun, it is baked in the outside oven. In
the winter the land around the house is flooded by the river and
they fish. Without the river, life would be impossible in
this dry, arid land.
The family has a camel and has borrowed other camels from neighbors
so we can go for a camel ride. I decide to pass on the
invitation since I nearly broke my foot on the last camel ride, and
have had enough of camels for a while. But some of the guys go
Life is primitive on the farm. They live close to nature and the
land. They have lived on the Nile River for generations and live the
same as their ancestors have for hundreds of years. My sister
and I were reminded of our own ancestors and how they farmed
the land and lived without electricity or running water in a
lifestyle not that different from this one.
While the people are poor in material goods, according to our
standards, they have great pride and are rich in heritage and family
values. We appreciated them allowing us to visit their home.
Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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