A passion for technology, curiosity about the outside world, pining for absent loved ones, anticipation of their return, simple decoration, or drawing for the fun of it – we can only guess today what this steamship graffito on a wall in an abandoned Nubian settlement once conveyed.
In the first half of the 20th century the Nubian villages that lined the Nile south of Aswan were inhabited almost exclusively by women and children. Just once a week the sound of the mailboat’s engine mingled with the singing of women at work and the laughter of children at play. The boat brought letters and every couple of years it brought back the husband or son whom work kept far from his family – and soon it carried him away again.
The abandoned Nubian villages on the Nile island of Biggeh are documented and researched by a DAI Cairo project in cooperation with the Technical University Berlin.