You almost wake up everyday in Egypt, to read a new tragic road accident in the newspapers. Yesterday, 11 poor children were drowned in a water canal, when the trailer of a tractor, in which they were packed in, was suddenly detached and went into the canal. 13 people drowned, including 11 children. They were hired to work in a cotton field, a full day’s work for only LE.7 (a dollar and a few cents).
The tractor’s driver, 53, used to go everyday to a woman, 35, who prepares young teenagers, mostly girls, for him. He loads them in his tractor’s trailer, then drive them to his land. Their job is to hand-collect cotton buds from the field. They work all day for the equal of one dollar and a few cents (LE.7). Its a common job in Egyptian villages.
Those young girls and boys, aged as young as 12, all come from poor families. They work day in and day out to support their parents. Schools are about to open in about a week, and they needed the money to buy stuff before going to school.
The government decided to give LE.500 ($87) to each family of the victims. This is usual in Egypt! But whats really funny is, just a few days back, the families of victims of another accident, where 35 people were burned dead in a small theater, received LE.15000 from that same government. The only difference is that the theater accident took place days before the presidential elections. The tractor accident were too late to get that kind of generosity.
No one in the local newspaper mentioned how or why those unfortunate teenagers drowned, they never do. Trailers are known to be roofless, its open from all sides, so if you know how to swim, there is a good chance to survive. My own guessing is that non of the poor victims knew how to swim, they were too poor to have such time or luxury of learning how to swim. Young male villagers are used to swim in water canals, but not females. Those small children probably didn’t have a chance to live as children normally do elsewhere. Their life is usually tough and helpless. They lead a miserable life, unnoticed from the authorities. Even when they die, they die in silence.