Sinai (1)

I've been living in Sinai for about 18 years and have worked as a teacher in a Bedouin village for about 3 years. During this time I had the chance to deal with  Bedouins on daily basis and that helped me get a real idea about their life. As for education the schools were full of girls not as people may think that they don't let their girls study. Even many of my colleagues at this school were  Bedouin girls who graduated for the faculty of education, even one of them ranked the first in her class in university. But to be sincere, many girls know that they'll quit school sooner or later maybe because there's no preparatory or secondary school nearby so they can't go further to continue studying. Some parents cared so much for their kids education (equally girls and boys), one of them was even telling that he couldn't be well educated but he wants his daughter and son to be the best as much as he can.

Many of those students were interested in learning and wanted to go to university and become teachers, doctors, nurses, but the most interesting was samar's (8 years old) dream to be a journalist to write about Palestine and poor people. Unfortunately after a while I haven't seen Samar at school once again. She had a problem with her legs and her house was so far and she had to walk for a while with her sister, so she had to quit school when her sister went to the secondary school in another place.

Samar's story leads me to talk about life in such places. In this village the situation was much better than further places in the desert, but in general I can say they lack most of the usual life facilities. Some places have nearby schools, but for others schools are so far. Asmaa had to cross a high way with her young brother every day on her way to school, they used to walk in a group of family kids most of the time. But one day she came to school with a cut in her face due to being hit by a car. Many places lack any kind of health care and so they have to go so far to see a doctor but what if it's an emergency??! Many places lack electricity and so they have to buy generators and use them for their houses. The Egyptian mobile networks don't work in many places specially near the borders, so people have to use either Palestinian or Israeli SIM cards to be able to make phone calls or use the Internet. Water is another story, people have to buy water and keep them in tanks for their daily use. They make a very wide tank in the ground which is called HARABA and fill it with water. They tell that the further you go in the desert the more expensive you buy water to an extent that some people have to pay about 1000 pounds monthly.

People feel so marginalized to an extent that many of those living far in the desert don't have an Egyptian ID but NGO's and activists try their best to issue such documents in addition to marriage documents. They really hate how the media pictures them as criminals and outlaws and generalize this image although many of them are wise and really well educated. They   hear about developing Sinai just as the whole world hears about this but whenever we come to the reality nothing is getting developed. People here want to be heard, helped and respected. They want the state to admit their belonging to Egypt not by nice words but by actions because they really care about Sinai and Egypt as a whole. They want the media to be fair and honest when talking about them. Even if there are outlaws as a result of suppression and marginalization, but the majority are against them and want to live and work peacefully and even some of them are doing their best to stop any outlaw actions. 


  1. I agree with you that bedouins miss all their rights to live a good life. they are really neglected.

  2. So I do not know very much about modern Sinai. It sounded in your article like the government neglects Sinai and that it is considered a dangerous and uneducated area where the people are not treated like "true Egyptians". Is that right? Again, I don't know much about Sinai so I am just trying to understand what you meant.
    And do you think this story, and people like Samar and Asmaa, would be surprising to other Egyptians? I mean, do people in other regions consider those in Sinai to be barbaric or different than other Egyptians?
    Thanks for writing this article :)

    1. As for other people in Egypt , yeah they have a bad image about Sinai and people here due to the media.. well, there are modern places in Sinai, but when it comes to the desert it seems like nobody cares for the people living there .. no facilities no services as if they're out f Egypt.. Thanks a lot for reading and commenting on my articles :)

  3. Very interesting article. Very similar situations happen to other people in the world that are poor and live in rural or poor areas. In my opinion there will always be people "labeled" as "Criminals or Outlaws" whenever extreme poverty exists. I am not ashamed to say if my family lacked food, medicine, water, etc. I would be a criminal to ensure I could provide for my family. Well done. I have a better understanding of life in the Sinai.