People of the Nile – Al Jazeera World


Two families live and work on small fishing boats but dream of one day living on dry land.

Filmmaker: Sherif Helal

The Nile’s delta and waters nourish 11 North African countries and the river has long inspired ancient myths, poetry and the curiosity of travellers.

This film takes an intimate look at the everyday lives of two families living on the Nile. Salama Saeed left school when he was 12 years old to become a fisherman. Back then, fishing was a profitable job; now, it is a hand-to-mouth existence, as fish stocks have steadily depleted. Saeed, his wife and three children live on a boat near Giza.

Every day, he takes his two young sons to the shore so they can go to school. Saeed is now trying to save money for his younger daughter’s dowry.

Sayed al-Sayed was born on the Nile and lives on a boat with his wife and two little daughters. His parents also live on a boat. Unlike Saeed, Sayed does not have an identity card. Being unregistered means it is difficult for him to seek medical treatment for him and his family.

The families are sometimes questioned by the river police who monitor the illegal use of electrofishing, a method of catching fish by stunning them, and must avoid the territorial gangs who control some parts of the Nile.

For Saeed and Sayed’s families who live, eat, work and sleep on small boats, life is a daily struggle and the families dream of a better life on dry land.

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