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Progress | Why is the donkey wearing trousers? | Egypt

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Why is the donkey wearing trousers?

I took this photo in May 2004 in a village close to Sinbilaween District in the Nile Delta. I saw a donkey wearing trousers. So I asked, ‘Why is the donkey wearing trousers?’ Answer 1: The farmers believe that it’s time for the animals to become civilised and they see trousers as a contrast to the jalabiya traditionally worn by Egyptian farmers. A silly answer, of course, but somebody who saw the photo really suggested it. Answer 2: The farmers don’t like trousers. So they ridicule them by making their donkeys wear them, whereas they are proud of their jalabiya. That’s way off the mark, but it’s another genuine answer I was given. Answer 3: It is the best method to keep away the flies that have multiplied unchecked in Egyptian villages as a result of the disastrous and debasing sanitary conditions that prevail there. So the trousers are a progressive solution for farmers living in wretched, dirty circumstances with no access to sanitation and waste disposal services. But if the story about the flies is true – and that is what I was told – I couldn’t find out why the donkey is only wearing one pair of trousers rather than two.

Mona Abaza
Cairo, Egypt

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