We closed out July 12th, our first day in Aswan, by traveling down the Nile for a visit to the Nubian Village. As I have mentioned before, the people are quite poor and disadvantaged, yet regal and dignified. Theirs is the air of a people who, yet downtrodden, know that their current state is neither their legacy nor their fate.
I felt welcomed.
We were greeted by some of the most beautiful children that one could imagine, most between the ages of probably three and eight. Their smiles and the light in their eyes were absolutely infectious. That, in addition to missing my own children, made the urge to just pick them up and hug them even more difficult to hold off.
We toured their school and even got a lesson in the Arabic and Nubian alphabets on the white board (our Nubian lesson was oral, as the written form has been lost due to several centuries of systematic eradication and under-education).
It’s not typical for Nubians to receive very much education, so they value it more than many in other countries. And I’m sure that the children of the village look forward to coming to school because our instructor’s teaching method is engaging, entertaining (he’s very funny) and educational.
We all wanted to stay!
From the school, we toured the main compound, led by a Sister whose husband was away doing trade. The home was simple, but very spacious and clean.
We all drank customary glasses of hibiscus tea, ruminated about the experience on the rooftop and the women of the group received henna tattoos.
One of the means of sustenance for the village is products made from crocodile skin: bags, wallets, clothing, etc. And we were all surprised by the fact that they had a pit of small crocs that they raise – in the compound (read: in doors).
Many of us, including me, even held the little critters (I won’t even go into what happened when one of the crocs shook loose from a group member and had to be corralled by one of the women).
The Nubian Village was great. In my opinion, interacting with the people in the course of their everyday lives is always the best way to really get the most out of any travel experience.
I don’t think that there could be any better group of people to encounter than the Nubian people of Aswan.
One less thing left on the bucket list.
I’m already looking forward to my next visit.