A Nubian Village in Aswan.

February 9, 2016

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Good grief Egypt, what other surprises do you have hidden up those galabiyya sleeves? Feeling like my favorite vinyl record stuck on repeat over here, but visiting a Nubian Village in Aswan was hands down one of my most cherished travel moments to date!

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Ever been called a ‘Nubian Queen’ and awkwardly graciously accepted the compliment? Admittedly, a large part of my unease was usually related to the creep factor with which said compliment was always delivered, but I was always aware that a tiny part of my reaction had to do with my lack of knowledge of all things Nubian. Aside from brief mentions in eighth grade ancient history class, I didn’t know much about the Nubian people. Yet having been in Egypt for about a week or so, I was quickly learning that Nubians were regarded as incredibly regal and highly respected people. So in true wanderlust form, when presented with the opportunity to visit a Nubian village, I leapt at the chance.

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Upon arrival, we were immediately invited into the home of Ioza family and there we stayed for the day. The vibrancy of the home was a warm welcome, and a stark contrast to most of our Egyptian travels (up until this point, our travels had been clouded in various shades of sand and dust). We were offered chilled hibiscus tea to sweeten to our liking and as we sipped, we took in our surroundings and chatted with different members of the family.  I can’t even begin to describe the incredibly heartwarmimg and thought provoking cultural exchange that followed but here are a few of the beautiful highlights:

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Mohammed is one of a few patriarchs in the home, as Nubian families tend to be rather large. One reason for this is, when a man marries a woman, he traditionally marries into her family. And not in the figurative sense, he literally moves into her family home (we were told sometimes as long as 15 years) as he builds a new home for his own family. Can you imagine??? Insert pensive emoji here.

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In addition to ruling over the Kingdom of Kush, Nubians ruled over ancient Egypt for close to 100 years and were one of the first civilizations to establish homes along the Nile.

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Arabic and various dialects of the Nubian language are spoken in the home.  However the Nubian languages have many proposals but no official alphabet.

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While I attempted to explain my take on being a woman living in NYC, I couldn’t help but recognize an all too familiar look of surprise -and every now and again, shear terror. I’m almost positive I’ve caught my mom making the same faces!

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Nubians are somewhat known as crocodile whisperers. I made a futile attempt to hold one because…well, when in Rome. Let’s just say that no amount of whispering was going to keep THAT moment cute.

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While I can’t quite find all the words to express just how powerful this day was for me, I can honestly say that I walked away from this experience with a fresh outlook. I’ll never be a Nubian expert but the Ioza family gave me a rather touching introduction. So, I’m thinking that the next time someone calls me a Nubian Queen, I’ll stand up a little bit straighter, hold my head just a little bit higher and puff my B cups out just a little bit farther.

 Travel just turned my awkward into pride. If that ain’t transformative travel for ya, I don’t know what is!

Where: Nubian Village, Aswan, Egypt

8 comments

  • Bianca @itsallbee

    Gorgeous pictures. Looks like it was a wonderful and enjoyable trip. Side note; I had this guy in college who used to refer to me as a Nubia Queen all the time…at the time I didnt know much about them either.

    http://www.itsallbee.com

    • admin

      Hi Bianca! Was it weird for you? I must admit that my baseline is ‘awkward’ when it comes to compliments!

  • Chic Therapy

    Yay…a new post! I have been stalking your blog. Great pictures and quips, as always.

    • admin

      Helllloooooo! And just like that, you’ve inspired me to do better! 😉

  • Rae

    This post was so amazing. And your pictures are so beautiful and really made the post come alive. I have yet to figure out when I’ll be traveling to this part of the world, but it is definitely on my list (but so is everywhere! lol!).

    I can’t remember how I discovered your blog, but I have kinda been tuned in since I did. I am a true wanderluster at heart and my adventurous side is finally coming up for air and your blog gives me so much inspiration.

    • admin

      Rae! Thanks so much for tuning in and your kind words, you have no idea how much I appreciate it. Definitely keep me posted on how you feed your wanderlust one country at a time!

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