Dodging Clashes, Cairo's Deliverymen Take Big Risks | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

In Cairo you can get most anything — food, medicine, groceries — delivered right to your door, anytime. But civil unrest in the streets of the Egyptian capital has made it a riskier job for deliverymen.

Tabouleh restaurant, an upscale Lebanese joint, is tucked into a quiet neighborhood just south of Tahrir Square, the center of Egypt's revolution.

It's usually packed. But clashes between protesters and police have been ongoing for a week just two blocks away. On a recent night, there's only one table of diners.

"These days, I think 80 percent [of] the business is delivery," Ahmed Said, Tabouleh's manager, says. He says it's been a tough week for the employees.

"Our staff, [they] cannot go home because all the streets [are] closed and we have action here," he says. "We stay here."

But their deliverymen on motorbikes find ways out of the neighborhood despite the clashes. Through the chaos they keep a semblance of normalcy for Egyptians, delivering food to their doors.

"If all of us at any job stopped work and we're afraid from the streets ... we're not going to live," Said explains. "We're going to die."

Downtown Cairo's traffic-jammed streets have never been easy to navigate. But cycles of violence and regular mass protests make it more complicated and dangerous to get around. The police have blocked off many major streets with concrete walls about 12-feet high.

Said says Tabouleh's best and bravest deliveryman is Sayed Masoud Abu Gabal.
"[He's] over 50, and he's more strong than the youth. He's going all [the] time, any order he's going. He's not afraid from anything. 'OK, I'll solve it,' " Said says, describing Abu Gabal's attitude if he finds out a street is shut down. "'l'll go from another way.'"