M El Mongy: Being at one with the Nile

The following is from a FB post by my friend Mongy (who I know from AIESEC).

Life in the land of Nubia over the last years educated me on how to appreciate land connection in a completely new way. It redefined the often misused notion of ‘indigenous’ people.

As I had the chance to live in many places, I could see that I grew to appreciate the ‘surface’ aspects of these cultures I interacted with, I developed a relative understanding of these societies and could relate strongly with them. However shifting places entirely every few years does not always give the time to land into the sense of place and really feel the resonance of a landscape.

In Aswan, especially with the villages I was in, I felt the incredible sense of being held, not only by the land, also by the people who are not only from this land but whose ancestors have been there in a continuous living culture for hundreds and thousands of years. The embodiment of being from the place redefines this relationship to the land, the Nile and all elements of the ecology of existence in a beautiful dance of co-being.

This collective sense of existence of all species that dwell in the land, is what redefined the notion of ‘indigenosity’ that shifts from anthropocentric to eco-centric, where local people are ‘expressions’ of the land and the Nile rather than ‘owners’ of the Nile. Expression and embodiment invites a very different relation to the land than ownership, control and agency.

This shift of consciousness allows the slowing down and listening mindfully and humbly to the vibration of the land. That is why, Cairene people think of Nubians as slow. Life in rural Nubia invites this resonance of the Nile, the trees, the birds, the sand to sink in your system, where you are whole within a wholesome ecology of beings, a wholesome ecosystem. Being in communion with the land explains how ancestral wisdom is stemming from the land and her subtlety. The communion with fellow beings invites the appreciation of the cyclical nature of life. This cycle that includes life itself, death and resurrection and being re-born like the glorious monuments of Nubia exemplify. Looking at the temple of Auset, where life and death intertwine in a beautiful dance, a beautiful flow like the Nile that surrounds it. The temple marks all the beginnings and all ends. It is a symbol of glory and sinking, life and death, separation and resurrection. The temple mimics the story of the Nubians’ life over the years and narrates what they withstood.

Life of the Nubians is a grandiose, subtle and eternal dialogue with the universe. It manifests the power of co-rooting, co-being and co-becoming one with each other, one with the land and one with the Nile.