We toured the Upper Nile for seven nights on our cruise boat, the Giselle. The Upper Nile supports agriculture in two narrow, green strips on its East and West banks. It is farmed by the poorest of the poor – the fellahin – Egyptian converts to Islam who cannot trace their ancestry back to Arab, or better yet, Mohammedan roots.
Life is difficult for the fellahin. They used to own their land and now (my research was done in 2009) they rent it or, if they cannot afford to rent, they are paid about a dollar a day as labourers. Now, with land commanding high prices that are driven largely by the tourism industry, the fellahin are frequently driven off the land they once owned or rented by the owner when he/she (most probably he) sells. Actually, life for the fellahin is worse than this. If you are interested, here’s a link to their story from the Egypt Independent, written by Maria Golla.
This old houseboat apparently serves as a dwelling for a large extended family or group of people. Perhaps they are the families of workers allowed to live there by a landlord.
These boys were playing on the East bank of the river as we passed. One enthusiastically called out to our boat.
These women were collecting water from the river. The Nile is very clean near Aswan. We saw a tourist woman swimming in the middle of river there.