Students' Projects 

DMJX x PHOTOPIA

 

Mohamed Hozayen

If I move From Here I would Die 

In the early morning she enjoys a cup of tea in her living room breathing the fresh air.  She is my Grandma, and she lives in a narrow old street in the middle of Cairo. After days of local cafés operating at full capacity, people staying after midnight and kids playing in the streets, making noise, this area is a ghost district at night. You can smell the scent of these buildings and streets. Homes made of bricks and wood. The very same buildings and streets my childhood memories were made in.

When I was a little boy, I used to visit my grandma on weekends. I would play here, in this house and on this street. I see what it used to be and what it has become now. I still remember the old stairs and the games I used to play with the other relatives. I still remember how the ground shook under our feet when we jumped on the rooftop. I still go visit her every month. “I’ve lived here since 1952 when I got married and settled down. I’ve spent most of my life here in this house,” my grandma says.

“This area has witnessed my ups and downs. This is where I started my life, had my kids, and lived happy and sad moments. But now after my kids have left and have their own lives, I’m alone. But I still have my neighbors around me. I’m still surrounded by my neighborhood, the familiar sounds that go on till late into the night.”
That’s what keeps my grandma company so that she doesn’t feel lonely. But since the earthquake that hit Egypt In 1992, people started to think about moving to somewhere else because the buildings here have become weak. Buildings that witnessed changes in weather and natural disasters. But when the announcement of tearing down the first neighborhood came, more people left. Now, there are barely one or three people living in a building. They are the same people who you’d find working in the workshops, or the used clothes stores.

In 2011 the Egyptian government decided to take down all the old Informal residential buildings and districts. In 2016 this change came into effect in some places of the country. When they reached Maspero and Bulaq, two districts located on the Nile, they demolished them to make way for the new buildings. To compensate the inhabitants, they gave them two choices: Either take a small amount of money and leave or take a new apartment they cannot afford. These people had no choice but to leave their homes and were forced to leave behind their lives and struggle to start over somewhere else. 

 Now her life is a boring routine she is old lady she doesn’t move a lot all her life now inside these 2 rooms around her TV and Radio and her telephone . Waking up early morning, sometimes one of her sons passes by on his way to work to see if she needs anything. She sits in front of the TV watching anything with the volume turned onto the loudest. And in the big room, she keeps the radio turned on. Both have become her friends amidst her loneliness. She walks a little, cooks, drinks tea, and calls her relatives. But even though she is lonely, she can’t imagine being anywhere but here in her flat.

“I don’t want leave from here. This is my soul, my life, my everything. I would love to live in the dead silence instead of taking buildings down and forcing me to leave. My soul goes with this home and area.”

Mohammed Kotb

Misery of soft hands

Under the Necessarily Required, in a cruel career that needs the roughness of men, Nancy and her companions work.

Nancy and others, girls under 10 and 20 years of age, among schoolgirls who skipped schooling, and others who declined to marry because of duties, all of these are mixed by working in red brick factories, indeed, red brick factories, men's occupation, where roughness

Here... More than 20 factories have a staff of 50 to 60 employees in the same factory in the village of Burj Rashid and other villages in Al-Beheira governorate, of which 5 to 10 girls bring only bricks and move them From inside the warehouse for overseas freight vehicles.There are two sections of jobs in brick factories, the first part is the green party's employment, workers in the initial stages, and the second part is the red party, workers in the after-exit of the furnace bricks and do not know these names but those employed in the sector,

each group is separate of its own and has its own instructor..

Accounting for its staff and providing them the daily pay

Jobs in the Green Party are limited to men working with loaders, equipment and ovens, while girls are only permitted to work in the Red Party.

For each one's story understood, the surprise grows and can hit shock: "People are not in our position because at dawn we leave the house and come back in the afternoon and work in it."

 We're going out, and all the people are sleeping, and no one of them feels like that. So what do we have to do

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Mariam Atallah

The Runners of Cairo

You don’t need help to park your car, or do you?

Somewhere in Giza, a car is leaving its parking spot; a spot that isn’t always easy to find in the crowded streets of Egypt. As according to The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, there are more than 10 million registered vehicles in Egypt, half of them being in Cairo and Giza alone. Yasser, a 50-year-old runner, is standing next to that car, guiding it out and waving to the owner who may or may not pay him in return for his service. According to all laws and regulations, the car owner isn’t obligated to pay Yasser. However, some drivers do pay him. He guides every single car, and has been for the past 11 years, in search of those who decide to pay.

 Yasser, and his family of 6, all live off that simple decision. His boys: Bassem, Bassam and Hammo have worked with him ever since they were kids. I want to say he taught them the job but there isn’t much to teach, they guide people into the available parking spots, people into

people into the available parking spots, claim to protect their cars until they return. However, the cars are safe from harm because they are present in a territory established by the runners, not because they are physically watching over their cars. 

“The Runners of Cairo" are a group of people on the streets who claim their territory and run it with their independent laws. They roam the crowded streets of Cairo at all times, to help you find a parking spot that you may or may not find without their help.

They don’t have a permit or a license, they do a job that no one asked them for, the necessity of the service they provide is questionable. Receiving their services is unavoidable but paying them for it is your choice.

However, whether you pay them or not, they pay other people.

The streets are divided into sections, there’s a runner in each section. And in every street there’s one guy in charge of all the runners. The guy in charge is responsible for handling the politics. He collects the money from the runners at the end of the day, and he ensures the safety of himself and the boys working under him by establishing a coordination with people of high authority or power in the neighborhood they work in. These people, who may be police officers or known thugs of the city, receive a standardized portion of the runner’s income daily and in return, they let the runners roam their streets and do their job without a permit.  

Car owners believe they don’t owe money to runners. Even those who decide to pay them, are prompted by a mix of emotions that range from guilt and sympathy towards the underprivileged runners, to fear of a violent reaction from them.

The runners have gained a bad reputation based on the violent acts of some of them, but most of them are innocent underprivileged people who just want to make some money. They couldn’t find a better way to provide for their families other than to live off other innocent but more privileged people, who just want to park their cars.

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John Nasr

THE LUMINARY PARADISE

Open your eyes and find yourself living in an ocean of garbage. You need to get rid of it quickly before you sink into it. 

In the western region of Cairo you will find Garbage or Zabbaleen Neighbourhood. It is a randomly created area in Manishit Nasser, a population of nearly 50.000 people, which was created due to the migration of Coptics from upper Egypt. They did what they used to do, mainly raising animals. Then they became proficient in collecting garbage and were called scavengers. Over the years each family took in newcomers and created random housing for them, and in that way the neighborhood grew and developed into the Zabbaleen Neighbourhood.

Adel 

“When I collect garbage outside my own neighborhood, I feel that I don’t belong there and need to turn back immediately.”

Adel, a 26-year-old resident of Manishit Nasser has spent most of his life collecting garbage from Cairo.

 

Church 

Living this life is like a transit for the people waiting for the afterlife. 

THE LUMINARY PARADISE. This is not only a religion, but a way of living and acting, even if the powerful authority is the church.

 

Pigeons 

Living like a pigeon.

They can go anywhere without bounds, but still there is an external power forcing them to go back to their cages.

Mahmoud Nada

A "money cycling wedding" is a well-known event whose main goal is to circulate money among the people of the same neighbourhood or region. What happens is that the "Wedding owner" holds a big celebration to which he invites all his friends and neighbours. As a complement, once the guests are invited they shower the wedding owner with "money gifts". Thus, he eventually collects a lot of money. The circulating part happens when, on another occasion, this person becomes a guest in someone else's money cycling wedding, and, in a sense, repays him.

Generally speaking, the "money gift" in Egyptian weddings is the sum of money that is paid as a gift to the newlyweds with the aim of helping them at the beginning of their marital life. It is also paid to the married couple when they have a newborn child. Not to mention that the ruling norm in such cases is the social solidarity among Egyptians and their good intentions. The money gift then turned into an end in itself; meaning that it stopped being a corollary to some

occasions, rather it turned into a special, independent event held particularly for it. And it is this new event that is held with the aim of collecting and circulating money that we call a money cycling wedding.

In those events, the guests gather to celebrate and spend the night singing, dancing, drinking alcohol and smoking hashish. During this festive atmosphere, in order to show their generosity and wealth and gain social prestige, the attendees' race to pay the "money gift" and register their names in a register or a huge notebook that is designated for this purpose and this purpose only.

The attendees of these weddings are not limited to a specific segment or social class. They are attended by people of all groups, social strata, from members of the parliament and senior officials that belong to the region, over merchants and property owners to drivers and simple workers.

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Anas Kamal

*WARNING: GRAPHIC STORY*

HASSIBA

“For the last 20 years, I have been looking for a safe place… a HOME for my kids and me. I hope I it remains forever”


In a 12-day journey in unbearable smell, and surrounded by cows, me and my kids secretly crossed the borders, we were exhausted but safe, but we reached Cairo… our new home.

My name is Hassiba Alnajib and I am 38-year-old single mother of five kids. I was born and raised in western Sudan, a student at Medical Laboratory Science College with a Promising future waiting for me until I fell in love with a man from another tribe that has a conflict with us. My family rejected our love, and when I decided to marry him, they rejected me, too. My husband’s family also did not accept our marriage, so after four years in pain, I ended up getting a divorce with two daughters and dropped out of college.

I went back to my family and they took me in, and I started working as saleswoman. In the meantime I met an Egyptian man, whom I worked with, and soon we got married and I had two children with him. It was five lovely years until he decided to leave me and go back to Egypt with a promise that he would come back to take us to Egypt, but it was a lie.

We were alone, so I returned to my family. Working hard every day was the only thing I did to keep myself busy, so I had to leave my kids with my mom. One day when I came back home, I found my father sexually harassing my oldest daughter, all I remember about that night is that I kept screaming until I fainted.
I realized that I couldn’t live in Sudan anymore, so I decided to travel to Egypt. But I could not because I did not have passports for the Egyptians kids, so traveling illegally was my only option. 

I had missed finally feeling safe, but it did not last very long. After four months in Egypt, two men threatened me with knives to take my clothes off and when I fought them back, they hit me until I fainted. The next thing I remember, I woke up covered in blood, half naked in a strange place… they raped me. 

Moving to a much safe area and wearing niqab gave me protection while I was out working.
I tried to find my husband, but his family lied to me that they did not know where he is, but after while he called asking about me and the kids and wanted to help us with money. Sadly I believed him and when I visited him in his apartment, he raped me. 
This time I got pregnant and I hid the pregnancy from my kids until the 7th month, then I told them they would have a new sister. A lovely girl joined our family, and we live all together in new home.  I hope it remains forever.

Peter Loza