Journal
ARA 02 - 08 - 2010

While in Luxor the group got the opportunity to take a camel ride along the west strip of the nile through one of the villages belonging to the indigenous people. This is something unplanned, but the opportunity to do so was one I was very glad for. I remember arriving to Aswan on a sleeper train early in the morning. Looking out our cabin window, I was able to see miles of these indigenous villages, and hoped that we'd be able to get a closer look at them. These villages were intriguing to me because of the mud brick architecture and the irrigation systems they use in the fields. Also, I was interested in the layout of these smalls homes as well as there realation to the streets and fields. As we ventured down the bank I got a very close look at the irrigation system for the fields. It appeared to me that troughs were dug out that ran perpendicular to the Nile, carrying water away from it towards the fields. This trough would have smaller veins which branched off and went through the fields. These veins were damned up when water was not desired, and undammed when the farmer would want to send water down through a certain region. It was a simple system that appeared to work effectively. Just beyond the fields (moving away from the Nile) were the homes. The city layout was typical, consisting of one of two main streets and alleys sprouting off from them. Along the steets and alleys were homes. I didn't see any obvious businesses within this region, but perhaps it was because this was more of a residential area. We were invited inside one person's home to get a closer look. The walls were mudbrick with mud stucco on the outside. It had no roof, but instead sticks and palm branches to provide shading from the sun. It only rains a few times a year here, so it is unnecessary for these people to attempt to keep out rain water. The apertures were minimal in the home we visited, because it is not essential for these people to see in to one another's homes. Also unique about the home we visted was that one room was dedicated to chickens. It was a funny scene, chickens occupying one room of the home, but for this people it is more practically to keep them with you for protection and for lack of space elsewhere. It was clear that this home only served the purpose of providing a place to sleep, eat, and escape the heat. For the most part they spend their days tending the fields or looking after their businesses. Their businesses being their prized posessions, they have nothing special that they'd not to keep in the home like we often do in the states. In all, the organization of ths indigenous village is based around practicality. The fields are next to the Nile for easy access to the water, and the village behind them. The homes are arranged along dirt streets in a gridded pattern, and these homes serve a basic function of shade and shelter for sleep. It is a very natural way to exist; very uncorrupt and uninfluenced by the modern world found on the east strip.

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