Woman breaks into men-only do­main:

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Dalal Ab­del-Qader, a 43-year-old mother

from Cairo, is do­ing some­thing that has for cen­turies been the exclusive do­main of men — be­ing a “mesa­haraty,” or the per­son who walks the streets be­fore dawn call­ing out to wake up the de­vout for their last meal, “sahur,” be­fore their dawn-to-dusk fast.

It’s a sea­sonal job that lasts for the du­ra­tion of Ra­madan, the holy month for

Mus­lims dur­ing which they re­frain from food and drink from dawn un­til sun­set. It’s nei­ther salaried nor full time, but those who take up the job do so in part to serve their com­mu­nity and make a lit­tle ex­tra money in tips. Ab­del-Qader, also known as Ha­j­jah Dalal, does not de­vi­ate from the meth­ods of her male peers, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of her late brother Ahmed, a mesa­haraty be­fore he died. She beats a drum on her nightly rounds, chants Ra­madan-re­lated re­li­gious phrases, and even calls out chil­dren by name as she passes by their homes in the poor Cairo district of Ard el-Be­sary.

Ab­del-Qader, whose full time job is at a clothes fac­tory, is proud of her side job and says she does it in part to honor the mem­ory of her brother. Her son Mah­moud ac­com­pa­nies her on her nightly three-hour rounds so she is not alone at such a late hour.

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