Researcher revives Egyptian villages and their foods

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Usama Ghazali, left, with his prized collection of handcrafts and antiquities.
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Updated 12 December 2019

Researcher revives Egyptian villages and their foods

  • Ghazali decided to collect signature dishes and drinks from each governorate through his many travels around Egypt

CAIRO: Usama Ghazali is a young environmental researcher who focuses on Red Sea nature reserves. He has a passion for Egyptian culture and heritage as well as handcrafts which are threatened by extinction. 

Ghazali decided to collect signature dishes and drinks from each governorate through his many travels around Egypt. He then shared a map marking over 100 assortments of foods from various locations in Egypt on his Facebook page.

Among the most prominent are madoos, mafroka and aseeda. His project brought certain dishes into the spotlight, as some were not known in the capital, Cairo, despite being staple foods in other parts of the country.

Ghazali travels monthly, each month checking out a new place in Egypt where he discovers more about the heritage of the area.

“There are various kinds of foods that are found in more than one place, but their names differ from one place to another,” Ghazali said. “Among them is al-mudaydah which is known to the people of Upper Egypt but is also present in Nuba under the name al-mudayd.”

Ghazali referred to his idea as an individual effort except for the details which requires the cooperation of research institutions on heritage for scientific documentation. 

He sees his work as significant in order to record and preserve Egyptian culture and as an invite to start a cultural awareness campaign where he is not the only one involved. Prior to this most recent work, Ghazali drew up a plan to advertise traditional handmade crafts.

“During the past months, I opened a temporary museum for folklore and craftsmanship,” he said.

The museum showcases works from Siwa, Sinai, Shalateen, Nubia, Upper Egypt, the countryside and oases. It is divided into four parts covering 250 meters. In its first part he shares the history of weaving and its evolvement in these areas. The second is dedicated to pottery, the third to copper art and the fourth to palm fronds. The museum features identification boards for each of the pieces shown to help walk the visitor through the history of these products and their usage in different parts of Egypt.

Ghazali also included 16 pieces of women’s wear that have resisted the wave of globalization and modernization which have hit Cairo. He labeled this part the “Map of Heritage Clothing in Egypt Still in Use.”

He included pieces which are only used in certain areas in Egypt and others which are only worn during special occasions.


Canada launches a Lebanon relief fund after Beirut blast

Updated 08 August 2020

Canada launches a Lebanon relief fund after Beirut blast

  • The money will go to the Humanitarian Coalition, which brings together a dozen Canadian humanitarian organizations on the ground in Lebanon
  • The assistance is part of the Can$5 million aid package announced earlier this week by Ottawa

MONTREAL: The Canadian government announced on Saturday the launch of a Lebanon relief fund, calling on citizens to give generously to victims of the massive explosion that killed more than 150 people and injured 6,000 in Beirut.
“Every dollar donated by individual Canadians between August fourth and 24th will be matched by the government of Canada... up to a maximum of Can$2 million,” or $1.5 million, said International Development Minister Karina Gould at a news conference.
The money will go to the Humanitarian Coalition, which brings together a dozen Canadian humanitarian organizations on the ground in Lebanon, she said.
It will use its expertise to distribute the aid in areas such as water supply, sanitation, food and shelter.
“I encourage Canadians to donate to the Lebanon Matching Fund to help save lives and meet the urgent needs of the affected population,” said the minister, adding it was the best way for citizens to help.
The assistance is part of the Can$5 million aid package announced earlier this week by Ottawa.
A group of Lebanese-Canadian businessmen has announced plans to raise at least $2.5 million to help the disaster-stricken population.
Tuesday’s massive explosion leveled Beirut port and killed at least 158 people.
A fire at the port had ignited a large stock of ammonium nitrate, triggering an explosion that was felt as far away as Cyprus and destroyed entire neighborhoods.
It was widely perceived as a direct consequence of corruption and incompetence, an egregious case of callousness on the part of an already reviled ruling elite.

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