From afar, Mansoura looks like a fortress of unfinished and abandoned buildings.
The evening breeze was nice. Passing through this buildings reminds me of Lego blocks which I had always built when I was a child.
We are approaching winter, nights are getting colder and seems much longer as day goes by.
Not much had changed. Same old Mansoura.
Passed by a group of farmers, sweaty looking like they just came back from a hard day at work, and also countless lorries carrying cows and goats and sheeps and camels by the main road - Eid is approaching of course.
Lots of juniors this new semester though, sources say close or more than 500 freshman. That is a lot. A lot.
Continued with my evening stroll, passed by a landfill site which had an abundance of tractors such as these.
A newly developed area. Dogs are everywhere.
But Egyptians works fast. I expect this building to be finished in under a year.
Earlier on the day I took a taxi, which costs 3 EGP. The traffic was a bit congested, understandable due to holiday but the driver warns me that there will be heavy traffic jam by 2 o'clock in the evening. I took the taxi at 11.30 AM I think, just before Zohor.
Arrived at a kind of a rural area in Mansoura, to say it looks dirty is an understatement. Looks like a town from the early 80s.
Of course, people here loves to smile to the camera. Make sure to not promise them to give them the pictures afterwards - I learned that lesson the hardway, they'll always remember it.
All these are for sale, normally they bundled them together when you buy a bed - but of course it depends on the seller.
Bread, in arabic called "aish" which means life. Fitting.
Gases are very expensive nowadays. It was 25 EGP a few months back. Now it costs 45 - 50 EGP which is absurd. That is almost a 200% increase.
Things will only get more and more expensive each passing year it seems.
Road looks congested. A lorry with 3 cows just passed through.
If I'm counting correctly there are 30 sheeps for the korban tomorrow.
They are being fed well in their final hour I see.
A sheep here typically costs around 1000 EGP. I had an Egyptian asking me to show him the korban animals in Malaysia. I showed them via my phone pictures of our local cows and goats. It is one of the little conveniences of technology which is very helpful.
One thing that I have read, and observed, and also experienced it first hand to tell you it's true is how friendly the Egyptians are. Don't be surprised if you are invited for a cup of tea even if you had just known them for 10 minutes. They are very-very friendly, of course there are exceptions but for the most part, Egyptians are a friendly lot.
In Egypt, tea ("shai" in arabic) is also called "wagib".(which is a mispronunciation of wajib since Egyptians replaces J with G so Jabaliah becomes Gabaliah, Rijal becomes Rigal, Jamaah becomes Gamaah and so on) The name fits because everywhere you go, believe me people will be having tea on their hands.
It is Eid today. The road is clear as expected. Looks like there is a crowd gathering over there.
It's my fifth Eid here.
In Malaysia I'd say there is next to no chance for me to have a part in the slaughtering process, the elders won't allow it.
When I arrived here 2 cows were already slaughtered by the 3 butchers. I can assure you that the knife he's holding is very sharp. It amazes me just how fast these Egyptians are in doing their work, unreal.
There is an air of familiarity in fact in the morning of Eid, the takbir, the raya greetings by the locals, the empty streets early on in the morning.
And of course faces of very excited children. It is of course a once in year event.
Looks like there's a bull too. I'm guessing they are saving this bull for last. It's a lot harder to _____ than a cow due to its thicker skin.
Looks like they are signalling for the next one qorban. More crowds are closing in, I'm not alone in bringing cameras here though I can count on one hand how many had dedicated cameras, almost all uses their phone as their camera of choice.
The process of slaughtering the animal (dhabihah in arabic) begins. The process must be done swiftly and with compassion, to prevent prolonged pain to the animals.
The man with the multiple knives right here works in Dubai, I'm not sure as what but he came back to his village just for the Eid holiday. He has a younger brother whom also works in Dubai. Both him and his brother will go back there 3 days after this.
The older man next to him is his father, who is a butcher here. And no I don't know all of their names.
He must be quite experienced with this because trying to hold a cow down is very hard and tiring. He's holding the cow's front feet while another strong person holds the cow's other feet.
Here he is. For just 2 guys to be holding a cow down is absolutely incredible.
But I must admit, there is a huge contrast in ethics between us Malaysians and Egyptians when it comes to korban. Firstly, bloody road like this is a common sight during Eid. This shows lack of cleanliness and concern on their part.
And second, by the pictures above you can see how all the korban animals are packed together, even during slaughter. I was shocked at first, but sometimes you just have to accept that cultures differ from one another.
They say that the best way to know, and appreciate a certain place is by asking and befriending little kids. I think due to me being the only foreigner there, and also having a camera of a all things made me an easy eye catch for them so to speak.
They lead me towards the inner side of the village, the place where they live and play. You can see how underdeveloped it looks - looks just like a back alley.
This kind of scenery saddens me, yet fascinates me at the same time, which is a bit of an oxymoron in itself.
Let's move on.
It was quite hard to get these pictures in focus due to the continuous pestering from the kids, but I really am grateful to them for bringing me around these place.
But really, these kids are really active. They don't seem to be afraid of the cow at all. Them moving all over makes it impossible to for me to take a nice shot. Let's try another shot shall we?
I give up.
But really, I am grateful to have met them. Though Egyptians are known to be rude and noisy, you will find many whom are kind and helpful.
How was the korban I wonder?
This was the cow that was slaughtered earlier.
They had finished shedding the skin of the cow.
The boning process will commence.
They are removing the stomach now.
From what I can gather Egyptians don't eat an animal's internal organ other than liver so they'll just throw them away, or feed it to their livestocks. The skin of the animal will be dried up and processed for other uses such as making carpets.
I think I'll get moving now.
I'm sure these are lambs from the day before hanging over here.
Everybody is hard at work. People often wondered how much local meat costs. Well a kilogram of meat costs around 50-60 EGP nowadays, depending on the part of the meat. If you found them any cheaper, you are either really lucky or the meat is imported from nearby countries, mainly Sudan.
People are lining up to get their share of meat.
Today was a very eye opening experience for me personally.
It reminds me that sacrifice is a must in Islam, be it sacrificing our wealth, time or effort for our religion. The story of Ibrahim and Ismail should be a lesson for us all.
Egyptians and their seemingly eternal love with tea. Must be nice to have a cup of tea after a day of hardwork. Thanks for reading, and happy Aidiladha everyone.