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Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

Birth announcement

After five and a half years of labour, countless sleepless nights, a few panic attacks and Olympic swimming pools of coffee, I am very proud to announce the arrival of Thesis, she was born on Monday 31st of March 2014 at 14.05h at the print shop in Reading, UK.

Thesis was conceived in Rome, Italy and further developed in England, Egypt, The Netherlands, France and Afghanistan.

She weighs about 750 grams and is 392 pages long.

 Mother and baby are doing fine although mother feels in need of lots of sleep, a good massage, a few drinks and the company of good friends…The University of Reading

 

 

 

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Presented during the 13th International Symposium on Veterinary Epidemiology & Economics held in Maastricht from 20-24 August 2012

The presentation can also be viewed here:

ellengeerlings73-1522553-hpai-risk-perception-poultry-keepers-egypt

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Aankondiging Foto tentoonstelling

Egypte en de revolutie


Datum: 9 t/m 30 November 2011

Locatie: Theater aan het Vrijthof, Vrijthof 47, Maastricht

Op uiteenlopende wijze tonen 3 fotografen een beeld van Egypte. Mohamed Ezz en Tamer Shahen laten documentair werk zien gemaakt tijdens de Tahrir revolutie van Januari 2011; een revolutie waaraan zij beiden ook hebben deelgenomen. Fotografe en samensteller van de tentoonstelling Ellen Geerlings geeft een beeld van Egypte vlak voor de revolutie. Haar foto’s zijn gemaakt in de straten van Cairo en op het platteland in het zuiden van Egypte en bestrijken een periode van 7 maanden (Juli 2010- Januari 2011). Met voornamelijk dagelijkse situaties en portretten als onderwerp zoomt zij in op alledaagse taferelen en zoekt daarmee menselijke intimiteit op. Deze ogenschijnlijke futiele voorvallen vormen een interessant contrast met de wereldnieuws halende Tahrir revolutie die vastgelegd is door de twee Egyptische fotografen.

De tentoonstelling is tot stand gekomen in samenwerking met Studium Generale Universiteit Maastricht en Theater aan het Vrijthof, en maakt o.a.  deel uit van het Global Culture Festival wat van 24 t/m 27 November in Maastricht plaatsvindt.

Informatie over de fotografen:

Mohamed Ezz Eldin, is een Egyptische fotograaf en ingenieur, geboren in Cairo, Egypte waar hij momenteel werkt. Hij behaalde een Bachelor graad aan de Faculteit van Techniek aan de Universiteit van Cairo in 2007. In 2003 begon hij zich op fotografie te concentreren. Zijn werk richt zich op verschillende aspecten van de Egyptische samenleving. Dit doet hij door mensen en situaties vast te leggen die hij in zijn dagelijks leven waarneemt. Zijn werk is niet beperkt tot fotografie alleen: hij heeft diverse workshops bijgewoond, met inbegrip van schilderen en video en interactieve kunst. Vanaf 2005 heeft hij verschillende  prijzen gewonnen voor zijn werk. Onlangs won hij de prijs van de jury van de delegatie van de Europese Unie (2008) en de ‘Gouden Prijs’ bij de Internationale Foto Competitie van de Emiraten (2009). Zijn website adres is: http://www.mohamedezz.com

Tamer Shahen (1977) is geboren in Cairo, Egypte. Hij studeerde aan de Faculteit van Fijne Kunsten van de Universiteit van Helwan in Egypte en behaalde daar zijn Bachelor graad Grafisch Ontwerpen. Hij is gespecialiseerd in Animatie en Illustratie en hij heeft onder anderen als animatieontwerper gewerkt voor de Egyptische Televisie. Tamer Shahen heeft deelgenomen aan talrijke groepstentoon- stellingen en solo tentoon- stellingen waaronder in het ‘Palace of Arts’ en ‘Town House Gallery’ in Cairo, Egypte. Zijn werk is ook in het buitenland tentoongesteld.

Ellen Geerlings (1974) is geboren in Eindhoven, Nederland. Momenteel is zij promovendus aan de Universiteit van Reading (UK). Ellen heeft als consultant voor de Landbouw en Voedsel Organisatie van de VN gewerkt en deed onderzoek op sociaaleconomisch en agrarisch vlak. Zij heeft o.a. in India, Bangladesh, Mexico, Turkije en Egypte gewoond en gewerkt. Tijdens haar reizen en werk is zij zich steeds meer op fotografie gaan richten. Ellen heeft fotografie met schrijven gecombineerd en produceert foto verslagen op haar persoonlijke blog. Enkele hiervan zijn gepubliceerd. Ellen is van mening dat het vastleggen van de verhalen van gewone mensen in woord en beeld een grotere impact kunnen hebben dan wetenschappelijke onderzoekrapporten die eerder anoniem en onpersoonlijk zijn en niet de persoonlijke verhalen en worstelingen weergeven van gewone mensen. Zij interviewde onlangs vuilnisophalers en vuilnisverwerkers in de krottenwijken van Caïro die door het preventief ruimen van hun varkens in verband met varkensgriep een grote financiële klap te verduren hebben gekregen. De foto’s die tijdens deze gesprekken werden genomen zijn vorig jaar tentoongesteld in een galerie in Caïro. Haar foto’s zijn o.a. gebruikt als illustraties voor verscheidene tijdschriften, boeken en andere publicaties.

Aankondiging op PhotoQ: http://www.photoq.nl/agenda/egypte-en-de-revolutie/

Announcement Photo exhibition

Egypt and the revolution

Date: 9th November – 30th November 2011

Location:  Theater aan het Vrijthof, Vrijthof 47, Maastricht, Netherlands

In this exhibition three photographers each present a distinct impression of Egypt. Mohamed Ezz and Tamer Shahen have documented the Tahrir revolution of January 2011; a revolution they were both actively part of. Photographer and coordinator of the exhibition Ellen Geerlings presents an image of Egypt shortly before the revolution. Her photo’s, taken over a 7-month period (July 2010-January 2011), were taken in the streets of Cairo as well as in the rural South of Egypt. By portraying ordinary people and daily situations she tries to capture human intimacy. These seemingly trivial events and people form an interesting contrast with the world news event of the Tahrir revolution captured by the two Egyptian photographers.  

The Exhibition will also be part of the Global Culture Festival in Maastricht which will take place from 24 – 27 November 2011.

Information about the photographers:

Mohamed Ezz Eldin, an Egyptian photographer and engineer, born in Cairo, Egypt where he currently works. He graduated from the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University in 2007. In 2003 he started concentrating on photography. His work focuses on different aspects of Egyptian society by capturing people and situations occurring in his daily life. His work is not limited to photography alone: he has attended various workshops, including painting, video and interactive art. In 2005, he began participating in artistic events and exhibitions where he received many awards for his work. Most Recently he won the jury’s award from the delegation of the European Union (2008) and the Golden Award at the Emirates International Photography Competition (2009). His website can be visited at: http://www.mohamedezz.com

Tamer Shahen (1977) was born in Cairo, Egypt. He studied at the Faculty of  Fine Art at Helwan University and holds a Bachelor degree in Graphic Design. He is specialized in Animation and Illustration and has worked as a animation designer for Egyptian Television among others. As a photographer Tamer Shahen has participated in numerous group as well as solo exhibitions in Egypt, among others in the Palace of Arts and Town house Gallery in Cairo but his work has also been exhibited abroad.

Ellen Geerlings (1974) was born in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. She’s currently finishing her Doctorate degree in Agriculture at the University of Reading (UK). She has worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN in a wide range of countries where her job was to conduct research on socio-economic and development issues. She has combined photography with writing and produces photo-essays, some of which have been published. Ellen feels that presenting a personal and intimate story through words and images is far more touching than presenting scientific research reports that are rather anonymous and do not reflect the personal stories of ordinary people. She recently interviewed garbage collectors in the slums of Cairo affected by the culling of their pigs due to swine flu. Photos taken during these interviews and others have been exhibited at a gallery in Cairo last year. Her photos have been used as cover photos and illustrations for several journals, magazines, books and other publications. 

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On invitation of Saxion University Deventer in the Netherlands I’m organizing a photo exhibition on Egypt and the revolution that took place in January 2011. Photos of  two Egyptian photographers and myself will be shown in September and October this year. The exhibition will be part of a larger Studium Generale program with speeches and discussions about developments and changes now taking place in Egypt. Drs. Petra Stienen, author of ‘Dromen van een Arabische lente’ and Drs Hans Anker will present their views on the political situation and coming democratic elections in Egypt.

A short introduction to the participating photographers and a small sample of their work will be presented below and will be further updated in the coming weeks. The participating photographers are: Mohamed Ezz Eldin, Tamer Shanen and myself.

Mohamed Ezz Eldin, an Egyptian photographer and engineer, born in Cairo, Egypt where he currently works. He graduated from the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University in 2007. In 2003 he started concentrating on photography. His work focuses on different aspects of Egyptian society by capturing people and situations occurring in his daily life. His work is not limited to photography alone: he has attended various workshops, including painting, video and interactive art. In 2005, he began participating in artistic events and exhibitions where he received many awards for his work. Most Recently he won the jury’s award from the delegation of the European Union (2008) and the Golden Award at the Emirates International Photography Competition (2009). His website can be visited at: http://www.mohamedezz.com/

Photo by Mohamed Ezz

Photo by Mohamed Ezz

Photo by Mohamed Ezz

Tamer Shahen was born in Cairo in 1977. He studied at the Faculty of  Fine Art at Helwan University and holds a Bachelor degree in Graphic Design. He is specialized in Animation and Illustration and has worked as a animation designer for Egyptian Television among others. As a photographer Tamer Shahen has participated in numerous group as well as solo exhibitions in Egypt, among others in the Palace of Arts and Town house Gallery in Cairo but his work has also been exhibited abroad.

Photo by Tamer Shahen

Photo by Tamer Shahen

Photo by Tamer Shahen

More information can be found here. The exhibition can be viewed from Monday till Thursday from 08.00h-22.00h and on Friday from 08.00h till 18.00h at Saxion Hogeschool Deventer, Handelskade 75, Deventer (a 5 minute walk from the railway station).
The exhibition will also be shown at ‘Theater aan het Vrijthof” (Vrijthof 47, Maastricht) in Maastricht from 9 November 2011 to 30 November 2011. The Exhibition will also be part of the Global Culture Festival in Maastricht which will take place from 24 – 27 November 2011.

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I love Egyptian food and even though I’m a vegetarian there are plenty of delicious dishes to enjoy without meat. There’s foul, a sort of bean paste which has many different varieties and which I ate at least 4 times a week (7 times a week for breakfast and dinner during field work), there’s humus, a chickpea paste that also has many varieties. Lentil soup is also one of my favorites but the most delicious dish is definitely baba ganough, a paste made out of eggplant. All these dishes are usually eaten with fresh baladi bread. I love baba ganough and I used to eat it with my friends late at night after we visited an exhibition, during Iftar (breaking of the fast during Ramadan) or Suhoor (the pre-dawn breakfast), or just on a night out chatting, having drinks and eating bread with foul. My friends grew accustomed to my baba ganough obsession and would order a dish of baba ganough especially for me. Baba ganough became my second name.

I haven’t eaten baba ganough since I came back to the Netherlands in January; until yesterday! Yesterday I went into an Arab/Turkish shop and I found baba ganough. It is so weird the way a small tin of food can bring back so many memories, happy ones in this case, unlike the sight of jelly pudding which I hate because I was forced to eat it in hospital when I was very little and sick.

I ate the baba ganough with Lebanese bread and of course it wasn’t the same thing. All circumstances had changed: there was not the smell of shisha, it wasn’t 40C and I wasn’t sticking to a plastic chair, the air wasn’t buzzing with energy, no noise of crazy traffic and people, no smell of exhaust fumes, no people selling me handkerchiefs, but above all my friends weren’t there.

Nevertheless this tiny tin of baba ganough did bring back some good memories of people and a country I feel very affectionate about.

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The UN Food and Agriculture Organization Food Price Index in January 2011 exceeded the peak of the 2007-2008 food price crisis. When it comes to food, the boundaries between stability and disorder are easily crossed. In how far increases in food prices stand at the bases of the unrest now seen in the Middle East is unclear but it is clear that food prices can be an important factor in causing civil unrest and a catalyst for anti-government protests. Egypt has been at the epicenter of recent unrest in the Middle East. With more than 40% of the population living on less than 2$ a day, volatility of food prices can easily contribute to instability and unrest on the streets.

While Egypt’s economy has grown over the past ten years, progress in human development has been uneven. It has proven difficult to improve the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable. Forty per cent of Egyptians live on less than $2 a day. The proportion of extreme poor (inability to meet the basic food needs) has even increased in recent years. Soaring food prices are the main driver behind the increase in the proportion of people living in extreme poverty; this share increased from 5.4% to 6.4%; this means 5-6 million people are unable to meet basic food needs, let alone basic housing.

This is Amira, a divorced lady of 70 with bad eyesight and hearing. She shares her tiny house with a 12-year old orphaned girl whom she takes care off. Amira sleeps on a hard bed and her toilet consists of a hole in the floor of her tiny house. All she owns is 4 chickens and the rest of her possessions are contained in a few plastic bags. She used to have 15 chickens but she lost 11 due to disease; possibly bird flu. She lives of a small pension of 55 Egyptian Pounds (EGP), this is equivalent to 5.8 United Kingdom Pounds (GBP) per month and occasionally receives charity in the form of food or money from well-off villagers. She sometimes earns a few Egyptian pounds by selling a few eggs. The vast majority of her money is spent on food and she will regularly have only tea and dry bread for her meals. Women support one fifth of Egyptian households, these households are especially vulnerable because of lack of income-generating opportunities as women have lower levels of education, public participation and poorer access to health and vocational training than men. The few chances open to women of earning money are often limited to seasonal labour, petty trade and poultry keeping.

This is Rehan, she is 29 year old, she lives in her mother’s house with her 9 year old daughter; both women are widowed. Like her mother, Rehan did not go to school but she decided to take adult literacy classes a few years ago and can now read and write. Her daughter is in primary school.

This is Rehan’s daughter and her mother. The household depends on a monthly pension of 250EGP (26.3GBP) in addition to a monthly gift of well-off villagers of 20EGP (2.1GBP) to 40EGP (4.2GBP). The household owns 5 chickens, which regularly provide eggs for household consumption. They spend about 150EGP (15.8GBP) on food every month; this is about 54% of their total budget. Most of the rest is spend on water and electricity costs and school expenses such as materials, school uniform, and private lessons for her daughter, which cost 8EGP per week. Private tutoring –both within rich and poor households- is very common in Egypt and is needed to compensate for the low quality of public education and to supplement the low pay of teachers in the public sector.

Poultry keeping is a major component of the livelihoods of the poor in Egypt providing income and a cheap source of high quality protein. Poultry keeping is one of a few income generating activities available to women and the simultaneous impact of bird flu which is now endemic in Egypt and soaring food prices have affected women’s economic empowerment and well being. Income from poultry is often spent on children’s needs such as education, while eggs form an important source of protein for children.

In order to cope with the simultaneous impact of bird flu and soaring food prices many households changed their diets in favour of plant based protein such as lentils or beans instead of animal protein in the form of meat and fish which are much more expensive.

Molokeya (Jew’s Mellow) is a typical Egyptian dish. Here women are separating the leaves from the stems. The leaves will be used to prepare a sort of soup. Molokeya is usually eaten with rabbit, which is considered an expensive delicacy. Less well off households will replace the rabbit with chicken or offal meat.

Bread is the cheapest as well as most important food item in Egyptian diets. Supplying cheap bread has been a key principle of government policy for decades as it is regarded crucial for ensuring social stability. Two thirds of Egyptians eat subsidized bread and the state meets 96% of the cost. About 85% of Egypt’s bread is subsidised, this equals about 230 million loaves a day. Subsidized bread is distributed via bread stalls such as this one

However any changes to this subsidy system in a country where 40% of the population live on less than $2 a day can create volatile situations. This fragile state became visible in April 2008 when bread shortages, as a result of the surge in food prices, sparked civil unrest. Some people lost their lives and many were wounded. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization Food Price Index in January reached a new historic peak, rising for the seventh successive month and exceeding the peak of the 2007-2008 food price crisis. When it comes to food, the boundaries between stability and disorder are easily crossed. In how far increases in food prices stand at the bases of the unrest now seen in the Middle East is unclear but it is clear that food prices can be an important factor in causing civil unrest and a catalyst for anti-government protests.

For privacy reasons fictive names have been used in this blog.

Acknowledgements

The information in this blog is based on interviews carried out by my colleagues and me in Suhag, Assuit, Menia and Fayoum governorates in the months of October and November 2010. This research was part of my PhD research exploring how HPAI and the food crisis have affected the food security and livelihood situations of rural households in Egypt.

I’d like to thank FAO for providing the opportunity to do my PhD research during an FAO assignment

I’d like to thank Eman Abdel Raouf, Arwa El Naggar, Gebril Mahjoub Osman and AbdelHakim Ali for translations and good company.

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has reproduced, edited and published my post under the title: Food and Egypt: Did high food prices help stir the public revolt?

Related posts about Egypt:

Bread, art and politics

‘we are out calling for our freedom and we will not rest till we get it’

A story of garbage and pigs

‘Uncertain times in Egypt’: a small feature in Farming Matters magazine produced by ileia

All the photos posted on my blog are owned by me and they should not be used without my permission

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I’m fascinated by old buildings. Since a few years I’ve been trying to capture the mysterious atmosphere present in these buildings. Shadow and light play an important role in this respect.
Five different houses and one veterinary clinic are presented below; three of the houses were located  in Upper Egypt, one in Cairo and one in France.

Large colonial building still inhabited in the governorate of Fayoum, Egypt.

Detail of large colonial building still inhabited in the governorate of Fayoum, Egypt.

Old abandoned house in Down Town Cairo, Egypt. Unfortunately this house was demolished in July 2010.

Solid wooden entrance gate to what used to be the village head's or 'El Omda's' house in a small village in the governorate of Menya, Egypt.

Detail of entrance gate to what used to be the village head's or 'El Omda's' house in a small village in the governorate of Menya, Egypt.

Entrance to the main room of an abandoned house that is owned by the village head in the governorate of Assuit, Egypt.

Reception room for guests

Antique chairs in the reception room

Courtyard

Courtyard

Detail of entrance door to abandoned room where mattresses are stored

Abandoned room where mattresses are stored

Veterinary clinic in the governorate of Fayoum, Egypt.

Detail of a door in a veterinary clinic in the governorate of Fayoum, Egypt.

Abandoned building in France

Abandoned building in France

Bathtub in abandoned building in France

Bathtub and chair in an abandoned building in France

'White'; detail of a bathroom in an abandoned building in France

'Jacob Delafon, Paris'; detail in bathroom in an abandoned building in France

Staircase in entrance hall of a abandoned building in France.

Entrance hall of an abandoned building in France.

All the photos posted on my blog are owned by me and they should not be used without my permission

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