Arts & Culture

Discovering Saint Catherine’s Forgotten Communities

Discovering Saint Catherine’s Forgotten Communities
3am-Saleh
Photo: Rehab ElDalil

By Marwa Morgan, Daily News Egypt

Goats and sheep scatter around the horizon as the sun spreads it rays over the short green grass patches, which decorate the yellow sand of the desert and the mountain at Saint Catherine.

The magic of the place has haunted the photographer, Rehab ElDalil, and inspired her to produce “Catherine Exists”, a photography project with a social cause.

ElDalil has worked on the project since 2010, when she was an applied arts student. As she used to go and study in Saint Catherine, she got closer to the people there, felt responsible towards them and decided to help, she said.

“There are non-commercial spots that most Egyptians do not even know about,” she said. “Only Mount Catherine and Mount Moses are well-known.”

These “non commercial” spots do not only lack recognition, but they also lack services, she said.

Residents of Saint Catherine do not have access to medical support, she said. They use available herbs in most cases, while severe cases have to be taken to Suez or even Cairo.

Rehab-1
Photo: Rehab ElDalil

“If someone has a bad tooth they have to go to Cairo,” ElDalil stated. “They have to drive for seven hours to get a tooth fixed.”

Rumours about security problems there discourage other Egyptians from visiting, even when they are not true, according to Khaled. “They are misunderstood for political reasons,” she added.

Through portraits and landscape photos, Khalid tells stories of Saint Catherine and its people.

One photo shows the view of Mount Um Shamar, one of the most important mountains in the region. Another photo shows a 13-year old boy ElDalil met in one of the rides between Saint Catherine and Dahab. The boy, who never went to school, learned the Arabic alphabet, how to write his name and read the time by the end of the 6-day trip.

“To see such potential wasted, just because there is no money to build enough schools, is frustrating,” she said. “He could have done something for the country.”

Photo: Rehab ElDalil
Photo: Rehab ElDalil

The self-funded photographer sells her photography work from Saint Catherine and intends to send 60% of the revenue to help the people there.

ElDalil’s potential plans include using the money to set up an educational centre, provide frequent health check visits to the people of Saint Catherine and organise trips to the “unknown” spots. However, the plans remain dependant on the amount of money she will be able to raise.

“I don’t want to give the money to one of the tribe leaders there to spend it in a couple of months,” she said. “I want something sustainable.”

ElDalil hopes her photographs travel to different cities locally and internationally, raising awareness about Saint Catherine, but the lack of funding poses an obstacle, she said. Some local initiatives, however, offered her exhibition spaces for reduced process or for free.

“Catherine Exists” can be viewed between 30 August and 5 September in Agora Arts and Culture at 2 Faraana Street, Azarita, Alexandria. Some photos can also be seen on the project’s Facebook page.

International artists paint the walls of a historic Tunisian village
A Wise Man's Advice on Love Through Theater in Medieval Cairo

Subscribe to our newsletter


Arts & Culture
@DailyNewsEgypt

Daily News Egypt is a completely independent news provider for Egypt and the wider MENA region.

More in Arts & Culture

Egyptians React to the Sad Death of Haitham Ahmed Zaki

Egyptian StreetsNovember 8, 2019

Messages Behind Naguib Mahfouz’ Nobel Speech

Farid Ayman ElShenawyNovember 8, 2019

The Coptic Church to Produce Biographical TV Series About Pope Shenouda III

Egyptian StreetsNovember 6, 2019

International Congress of Egyptology Launches 12th Edition at Mena House

Egyptian StreetsNovember 4, 2019

10 Top Interior Design Trends in Egypt in 2020

ES BuzzNovember 4, 2019

Egyptian Architect ‘Highly Commended’ in 2019 Tamayouz Excellence Award

Egyptian StreetsOctober 25, 2019

The Internationally Acclaimed Egyptian Brand Reviving the Dying Craft of Kilim

Nour EltiganiOctober 22, 2019

What If Egyptian Women Had the Supernatural Power of Emitting Electricity?

Sara AhmedOctober 21, 2019