I am fortunate in my commute to and from work. I do not have to drive the car and negotiate the multi-lane road with speeding vehicles, overladen lorries and unexpected hazards. Many other commuters drive themselves or travel on buses, the metro, or shared taxis.
The day labourers, who are building the overblown desert mansions of New Cairo that are crowded upon each other like a 1950s suburban development, don’t have their transportation provided by their employer. They pile into cars, microbuses and pickup trucks, where they huddle together against the sand and wind. Their wages are small; construction is how they support themselves and their families.
On Thursday, a sandstorm enveloped Egypt’s capital and still workers had to get to and from their site. The still air, thick with pollution and sand, provoked all respiratory systems. As we passed the truck carrying three gamoosa — water buffalo — for slaughter surely, I thought of the conflicts and contrasts that make up Cairo.