EGYPTIANS braced for holy Ramadhan this year, despite the difficult economic conditions they have experienced over the past 17 months.
The holy month is the first one they spend with newly-elected President Mohamed Morsi. Streets, squares and many houses across the capital were decorated with lights, lanterns, clowns and puppets. Shops sell different kinds of special food for the occasion.
"Specially this year, we were keen on hanging the ornaments and celebrated Ramadhan with the ways we used to, as we are fed up with the political turmoil," Abdallah Mohamed, 45, a civil engineer told Xinhua, while he was hanging a huge lantern before his house in the downtown.
Egyptians used to flock to the markets in the few days before and after the beginning of the holy month buying supplies known as "Ramadhan Yamish", including the nuts. Some merchants said the buyers this year seemed less than last year.
"In fact the number of people buying Ramadhan yamish this year is very low like that last year, or even less. Those who came to buy smaller quantities than they used to do," said Abdel Hakeem Helal, owner of a shop which sells the yamish.
"The bad economic conditions after the revolution that led many factories and companies to lay off workers to decrease the workforce costs is the reason behind the down of expenditure," Helal said.
Mona Hassan, 55, came to buy some basic commodities like rice, pasta, and some legumes. She said the prices were the same level as that of last year. "But we buy only few quantities as a matter of celebration," she added.
Owing to the bad economic conditions, banquets and tents that offer ready-made food for the poor and passers-by decreased this year.
"Here in the past, the Abdeen district area used to have about 10 banquets, now there are only five," Raheem al-Gewedy, a coffee shop owner, told Xinhua.
Eglal Mohamed, 49, a widow, dustwoman in a hospital, has three children. She depends on the banquets in Ramadan month and she used to go to the banquets in Abdeen near her house.
"Everyday I take my children and go to the banquets to have our Iftar there, but I found the number of the banquets in this area decreased this year," she said.
The Freedom and Justice Party affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood group, organised markets for the basic commodities, such as the pasta, rice, sugar with the prime costs.
"I live in al-Haram district and bought some commodities from a large tent related to the Freedom and Justice Party, which sells the basic commodities at lower prices than other markets," Laila Mostafa, 42, told Xinhua.
In an unprecedented move, President Mohamed Morsi contacts with the Egyptians everyday in Ramadan, few minutes after the Maghreb prayer via the state-run "Al-Barnameg alaam" or "Public Programme" radio channel in a programme called "The people ask and the President answers".
"Since the beginning of Ramadan, me and my family have been listening to the president's program in the radio, which made us feel in Ramadan the president is closer to us and cares about our problems."
The president have been working hard to fulfill his promise to solve the five problems within the first 100 days of his office poor security, rubbish dumping, fuel shortage, low-quality subsidised bread and traffic jams. People need time to feel the improvement of their life conditions but seem optimistic about their future.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
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