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Threads in the tapestry: The men who stare at goats - Daily News Egypt

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Threads in the tapestry: The men who stare at goats

Cairo is a vast, complex city and it takes a lot to keep it going. In an effort to unravel the great enigma, we bring you the occasional slice-of-life peek into the men and women without whom our fair city would not exist.

Bahr El A’azam street seems like any other as you whiz past in the air-conditioned paradise of your car. Café, restaurant, café, café, laundry place, café, goat merchant, bread seller, café…wait what?

Nestled between a rack of cooling loaves and a seafood restaurant is none other than a fairly sizeable herd of goats. Brown, white, horned, un-horned, spray-painted pink…none of this fits with a city atmosphere. What gives?

Well, as Mamdouh- a nine-year veteran salesman- and countless abused animals from The Flintstones would tell you: it’s a living. “We get by and we are happy. Usually Eid is a good time because everyone wants goats to slaughter,” Mamdouh says, eyeing the sometimes-mischievous herd. “We do not really get much business during the day.”

Mamdouh is one of many goat salesmen that line this particular street. Most of their business comes from those too poor to afford slaughtering cows on special occasions, although Mamdouh maintains differently. “You can not compare it to cow. It is another taste entirely. I prefer goat, although I do not get to eat it very much,” he says.

In terms of the workload, Mamdouh says it is not bad. He makes a little money off shaving the goats in the summer as well as their milk. “I just wish there was shade. We all sit here and fight over who gets the customers in the heat. It is not fun at all,” he says.

“I wish we had something like Souq El Gamal (the Camel Market) where we all came together in one place so prices are standard and we do not have to wait all day.”

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