As he raced down the stairs, almost tripping over his packed suitcases, my grandfather, Anwar Fadul, couldn’t contain his nervous excitement. His mother, watching from the kitchen table, couldn’t stop smiling as her youngest child jittered around the house. “Anwar!” she called. “It’s almost time for you to go.” At age 12, my grandfather was given the opportunity to attend the most prestigious boarding school in Egypt. After his teachers acknowledged his potential for greatness, his mother and two older sisters worked tirelessly on the family farm to be able to afford to send him to the school (Interview 1, Khalid Fadul).
Realizing the bus was coming soon, Anwar quickly ran into the kitchen, took an apple from the counter, and ran outside with his luggage. Already having said goodbye to his sisters the night before, Anwar turned to face his mother. Realizing how much she had done for him, and how much she would continue to sacrifice for his future...Anwar’s eyes began to water. His mother straightened his uniform, tamed his wild hair, and whispered into his ear, “Never stray away from your cousins, Habibi, and remember that school always comes first.” With that, she reluctantly let her only son go onto the bus, making sure that all of Anwar’s luggage was taken up by his older cousins.
As the bus rode away from his house on that particularly warm morning, Anwar took one last look at his family’s farm, waving goodbye to his mother, who was watching from the front porch. With the left turn of the wheel, Anwar could no longer see his home, only the desert landscape that stretched for miles outside of the bus window. As he stared outside, and realized how much he was leaving behind, he began to wonder if he would like his new school? Friends? Teachers? Shaking his head, he dismissed the thoughts from his mind, accepting his new future.
Gender roles on the farm were much like those seen in early American history with the women tending to household duties, while the men took up much of the heavy duty work on the field (Gender Roles in the Farming Industry). Regardless of these usual norms, my great-grandmother, Haja, and her two daughters didn’t believe in these gender roles as they worked long, hard hours in the field harvesting the crops themselves. As they became more successful in selling their crops, they soon hired workers to tend their land as they dealt with the finances of the produce (Interview 4, Khalid Fadul).