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Monday, February 6, 2017

The Junk Man

"Heck e ya  -  heck e ya!"

That's what I was sure it was the first time I heard the shout coming from a man on a donkey cart driving down a street in downtown Cairo.

It's actually "Beckya, beckya!' and the word is short for Robabekya,  which means junk trader.  The robabekya roams the streets here looking for the junk you might be willing to sell to him.  Scrap wire, scrap pipe - those are very favored items.  But an old 8-track tape player or a dented metal pitcher - he'd be glad to take that off your hands too.

Here we passed a robabekya who is off the cart no doubt negotiating for a good item.  But notice that he has salvaged an excellent seat for his cart.  We have even seen full armchairs converted into a driver's seat.

Notice the small pile of green alfalfa on the front of the cart.  That is fuel for the donkey.  All the carts here have a pile of greens on board to power the trip home. 

Whatever happened to the junk man back in the States?  I can recall them passing down the street in front of our house back in the 1950s.  That wasn't all that long ago was it?

There is a good article in the Independent about a day in the life of a robabekya at this link.

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