In Egypt, there’s a rare addition to this year’s Ramadan fasting period. Traditionally, there has always been someone in every neighbourhood to wake people up to eat the last meal before fasting begins just before dawn.
For centuries this job was always done by men. But in Cairo’s upscale neighbourhood of Maadi, one woman has now taken up the job, joining a list of only three women doing it in the country.
In her small house in a simple neighbourhood of Dar el Salam in Cairo, Dalal Abdel Qader nicknamed Um Mahmoud prepares herself for another round in the streets as a Mosaharaty. She’s one of only three women in this job
“I’ve been a Mosaharaty for five years. I took it from my brother who passed away but I don’t consider it as a job. It’s a hobby something I like to do and the revenue I spend on charity” Dalal Abdel Qader said.
Um Mahmoud a mother of two, works during the day at a dry cleaners.
Her late night mission as she likes to call it, is a tougher task
“I have to have 3 characteristics as a Mosaharaty. Strong voice, patience because the kids always gather around me and stamina because I walk a lot” Qader said.
Um Mahmoud starts to roam the streets of Maadi every day for two hours starting at midnight. She calls on people to wake up so they can eat their sohour before fasting begins at around 3am Cairo time
Residents ask her to call their children’s names for fun and they tip her.
Usually men are Mosaharaty because they walk the streets after midnight.
But she feels safe;
“For five years I haven’t faced any problems, but if I do, I know how to deal with it . I’m a strong woman”
It’s a tradition that has managed to survive the technological revolution. It remains a unique aspect of the holy month of Ramadan But for Um Mahmoud or Dalal, it’s more; it’s a mission for life