Monday, February 01, 2010

Egypt Journal: Children in the Siwa Oasis

Ragheb, Mousa, Moustafa, Rabiah

Ragheb and Mousa

The Screaming Game

Moustafa

Ragheb in Sunglasses

These four kids, all from the same family, ran up on me when I was at the base of Siwa Mountain (the old Berber fortress in the heart of Siwa. Siwans descended from Algerian Berbers generations ago, and have retained much of their culture in this desert oasis. In fact, Siwi, not Arabic, is their first language.) We played around for awhile, and I let them take a bunch of pictures with my camera. Though most of the pictures were blurred, they had a ton of fun pointing and shooting, and learning how to use the viewfinder. They also loved to see their own images light up on the LCD sreen.

At one point they started playing what I've called "The Screaming Game," which was literally just that. They all started screaming, but couldn't contain their laughter for long. It's a fitting game for Siwa and Egypt as a whole, actually. For, even though life is tough for the vast majority of the people here, their ability to smile, and to embrace one another is quite remarkable.