By Nayera Yasser
In one leap he crosses metres, in one leap he elegantly moves from one place to another. He is not some mystical creature; in fact, he is a human being with a whimsical job. In the land where some of the country’s rarest plants and palm trees stand, the date harvesting season is a time for celebration.
The collectors spend their days tied to the ever-growing palm trees in order to accomplish the much respected mission. In Aswan, this particular season is highly awaited for its importance and its cheerful atmosphere.
The harvesting is only the introductory phase, followed by sorting and packing in preparation to be sent to the town’s market, where the best local dates are often found. The tasks are implemented by families that have grown up surrounded by their beloved trees, and each member has learnt his or her own part over the years.
The festivities include intensive work that takes days of preparation and execution. Contrary to the mistaken belief, each family member is absolutely essential to the task, as men, women and children all participate in different forms to deliver the precious dates from the land to their purchasers.
Photos by Mohamed Omar