SQUIZ THE WORLD (1400 × 700px)

Squiz the World goes to… Egypt

Your Shortcut to Ancient Egypt: https://www.squizkids.com.au/squiz-kids-shortcuts/ancient-egypt/
Map of Egypt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt#/media/File:EGY_orthographic.svg
Remembering the Ever Given: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-26/ship-blocking-suez-canal-could-be-stuck-for-weeks/100030056
Map of the Nile Delta: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nile_Delta
Recipe for Koshari: https://amiraspantry.com/egyptian-koshari/


Each week, we give the world globe a spin, and see where we land. Then we take the kids of Australia on an audio excursion to visit that country and its people.

I’m Amanda Bower, and today on Squiz the World we’re visiting a country that’s in Africa… Asia… the Mediterannean… AND the Middle East!

It sounds like I’ve lost my geographical marbles, but it’s true! This country is located on the African AND Asian continents, the Mediterannean Sea, and is part of the Middle East. Need a couple more clues? It’s known for its pyramids, pharaohs, and mummies.

Yes, of course, we’re heading to Egypt – but we are NOT taking the Squiz Kids time machine! We’ve already been to Ancient Egypt! I’ll put a link to our shortcut in your episode notes. But right now, it’s time to find out more about modern life in this African, Asian, Middle Eastern nation. Strap yourselves into the Squiz Kids Super Fast Supersonic Jetliner as we take off and take a squiz at Egypt …

I’ll pop a map in your episode notes, so you can get your head around how Egypt can be part of two continents… Almost all of the country is in the top right corner of Africa, with the Mediterannean Sea on its north coast, and the Red Sea to the East. But Africa and Asia are connected by a thin strip of land, and that land belongs to Egypt.

It used to be that if you wanted to sail from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, you had to travel anti-clockwise, all the way around Africa, but in 1869, the Suez Canal was dug to connect the two. It’s one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, and you might remember the chaos that was caused when the massive container ship the Ever Given got stuck in the Suez in 2021. I’ll put a link in your episode notes to a reminder of that.

Egypt would just be one big desert, if not for the river Nile, which flows through it from south to north. We’ll learn more about the Nile in a while. Hey, that rhymes. It also has crocodiles…

The capital of Egypt is Cairo – it’s home to 22 million of the country’s 103 million people, and is the biggest city in both Africa and the Middle East. In fact, it’s so busy and crowded in Cairo that the Egyptian government is building itself a new capital about 45 kilometres away, where most of the main government business will happen.

That city is yet to be named – a competition was held to come up with a name and a logo, but the results haven’t been announced yet. I wonder what it will be…

Whenever you travel, it’s important to learn a few words in that country’s language. It’s a great way to show respect. So, let’s….

In Egypt the official language is Arabic. But as we learned when we took the Squiz Kids Jet to Jordan, there are different dialects in all the Arabic speaking countries. Egyptian Arabic, which is often called Masri, is the most widely spoken and studied form of Arabic in the world.

We’ve got a very special Squiz Kid here to give us a little lesson. Take it away, George!
(George audio)
Shukran, George!

Now that we can communicate a little bit, it’s….

We’ve learned in lots of the places that we visit that school can be very different for kids, depending on where you live, and how much money you have. In Cairo, there are some incredible schools! But the United Nations says that one in five school buildings in Egypt doesn’t have adequate water and sanitation… meaning that you can’t get a safe drink from a bubbler or tap, and there aren’t appropriate toilets.

Teachers aren’t always well trained, either, but the government is working with other countries and organisations to try to fix that.

One of the most interesting things about school in Egypt is the emphasis that’s placed on farming. Agriculture is a big part of Egypt’s economy, and more than half of all jobs in Upper Egypt are in agriculture. So starting in year 4, agriculture is a compulsory subject at school – and Egyptian kids can choose to go to one of Egypt’s many agriculture high schools. They have their own school farms!

There’s a rich history of farming in Egypt, and that’s all thanks to the river Nile. Let’s get in our time machine and learn more about this mighty waterway.

We’re heading back… way, waaay back… to more than 8,000 years ago, to the Nile River Delta – it’s north of where Cairo is today, and it’s where the Nile flows north into the Mediterannean sea. In your episode notes, there’s a map showing how there are lots of little offshoots of the big river. Ever summer, the river waters rise and flood a huge, triangular patch of land. In this case, floods are a good thing, because they leave behind tons of silt, which is good, nutritious stuff for plants to grow in.

All those thousands of years ago, some clever humans realised that instead of having to roam the countryside and hunt for food, they could grow crops, raise animals, and settle— here in the delta. They invented the 12-month, 365-day calendar we use today, to keep track of the Nile’s floods and their planting. They also developed systems of irrigation, to bring water further into the desert, and plant more crops. They began to build villages and towns… and ships… and trade relationships with other countries. It was the start of a mighty civilisation.

For centuries, Egypt was called “the breadbasket of Rome”, because it produced so much wheat that it fed its own people, and the Roman Empire. Egyptian cotton is still famous today all over the world.

It might surprise you to hear that the Nile flows from south to north, because we think of south as “down” and north as “up”… and we all know water can’t flow “up”! But the Nile is just doing what rivers do… finding the easiest way down, from a high point, such as mountains, to a low point, like sea level.

The Nile gets its start more than one kilometre above sea level, in the rivers that flow into Lake Victoria. That’s south of Egypt, on the border of Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. The water then flows 6,600 km north, down the mountains, towards the Egyptian Delta, which is just 18 metres above sea level.

Along the way, the Nile is home to hippopotamus, Nile crocodiles – one of the longest croc species in the world – and a fish called the Nile perch, which can grow as tall as a basketball player and weigh 200kg!!!

Well, it’s been a long trip along the Nile, and I’m starving! I think it might be…

If you talk to an Australian overseas, they might tell you that they can’t wait to get home to eat a meat pie… or passionfruit yogurt… or a lamington. Ask an Egyptian the same question, and the answer is likely to be: Koshari.

To make what most people say is Egypt’s national dish, you’ll need to cook rice, lentils, chickpeas, and pasta – all separately. Then, you’ll toss them together with a tomato-y, cumin-y sauce, and crunchy fried onions. Add some shatta – an Egyptian hot sauce – and you have koshari. It’s cheap, and it’s a serious stomach-filler. There’s a recipe in your episode notes!

This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening.

Question 1. Egypt is part of which two continents?
Question 2. Which way does the Nile River flow?
Question 3. What would YOU call Egypt’s new capital?