South Asian migrant workers and Egyptian workers constitute the majority of migrant workers in Jordan. Migrant workers in different sectors face similar struggles, including difficult living situations, home sickness, long working hours and low wages. They turn to each other to find solidarity, forming communities that stick together in times of need and joy, and relating to each other different yet similar stories.
These photos on Egyptian farmers in Jordan are the second part of a project by photographer Nadia Bseiso to document the lives of migrant workers in Jordan.
Ein el Basha – Jordan, Mahmoud 20, came to Jordan to save money to get married. Just one day before this picture was taken, he cut his hand while harvesting cauliflower. Despite his injury, he continued working the next day so as not to be replaced by another worker.
North Valley – Jordan: Praying space in a two room house lived by Egyptian farmers. Despite their hard living conditions, Egyptians are well known for their hard work and light sense of humor. Employers prefer hiring Egyptians in construction and farming for their quality work and commitment.
Middle Valley – Jordan: Egyptian farmer sits in a plastic room he shares with others. Building brick rooms is not allowed without permits. He works for an employer that rents the land and doesn’t own it, which means he can’t build on it. Farmers have no choice but to live in sun absorbing rooms where temperature rise to over 45 degrees in the summer.
Al Ramtha – Jordan: Egyptian famers form 90 percent of Jordan’s agricultural work force. In an industry that used to provide jobs for many Egyptian farmers, the usage of automatic feeders in poultry farms reduced manual labor needed to one or two workers controlling operations.
North Valley – Jordan: Egyptian farmers usually get an average of 190 JDs per month and are paid seasonally. With families back home waiting for regular transfers, farmers spend minimum costs on their own needs and can rarely save up from their salaries. Three years into the Syrian crisis, Syrian refugees, especially women, entered the market illegally and now compete with Egyptian farmers.
Jordan Valley- Jordan: Egyptian farmer transports refined water from tanks provided by employers to drink, cook and wash. Farmers complain that water provided is too salty, which makes it too harsh for drinking.
Middle Valley – Jordan: Water pond used to provide farms with water. Due to the scarce rain in the area, most plants are watered through drip irrigation. One Egyptian farmer tells the story of two of his friends who got sick , drinking from hormone contaminated water. As it turns out, all water resources in one fish farm were infused with hormones, including water used by the farmers.
Middle Valley – Jordan: Daughter of an Egyptian farmer and her siblings playing in the farm where their dad works. They came to Jordan after their dad settled and got a job as a farmer before the new regulations. They go to a local school and help their dad with simple chores.
Middle Valley – Jordan: Egyptian worker with his son in front of their house. Two month earlier he was electrocuted and severely burnt while doing his job. He brought his family from Egypt before the new regulations were set. Now, it’s difficult for migrant workers to bring their families due to permits.