Exploring Poor Families in Bani Sweif

On a Friday around a week ago, I went with other volunteers from the Nasr City branch of Resala in an exploratory visit to Bani Sweif to check the conditions of poor families at a village there. Bani Swief is at the beginning of Upper Egypt.

As the bus arrive at some village in Bani Sweif, we split in small groups. Each group consisted of one or two volunteers from Resala and a local guide from a local NGO at the village. The guides took us to homes of poor families. There, we entered their homes and looked at the conditions of their houses. We sat down briefly with each family inquiring about their conditions, asking them a few questions and filling a standard form supplied by Resala to all volunteers.

Bani Sweif NGO

Among the families I have visited were those who had not bathroom and those who had no proper walls for their houses (they covered the ceiling with some tree branches. One of the families my guide and I visited educated their children, their children went to school. That was the only family that did so and they mentioned it in a way that showed they are dong some sort of exception to the norm and they were proud of it. The rest of the families had none of their children (or themselves of course) educated. Of course washing machines and refrigerators were a luxury many could not afford.

Bani Sweif Farm

Despite the seemingly miserable condition of some of the families in that village, yet their life seemed relatively happy. They lived a simple life and ate fresh food from the farms between which they lived. Some of them had small black and white TV sets (some of which were working); several had radio casetts.After completing the exploratory visits and filling the forms, the head guide of the local NGO who brought us to the village invited us for dinner at his home. The taste of food there was amazing, everything fresh from the fields and cooked in the traditional Egyptian way.


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