After our long trek up, and back down Mt. Sinai, we were all ready to get back on the bus and sleep during the long ride back to Cairo. Before we could do that however, we had one more stop to make: St. Katherine’s Protectorate. The protectorate is a really neat place. It’s kind of like a wildlife refuge/national park in St. Katherine City. The area in the protectorate encompasses most of the mountain regions of the Sinai area, including Mount St. Katherine, the highest of the mountains in Sinai. The goal of the protectorate is to preserve the animal, plant, and even human life of the inhabitants of the region. They have recorded 317 species of plant, 19 of which have not been found anywhere else in the world, 35 different types of reptile, and several different species of mammal living in the area of the protectorate. The Dorcas gazelle, once almost gone from the area, is now sighted more and more frequently. Because of the dry desert climate, water resources are relatively scarce. Some of the plant and animal species of the park have difficulty surviving because of this, so in order to counteract the low water supply; they have built dams to help conserve water resources. The protectorate does more than just conserve plant and animal species however. They also work with the native people of the area, the Bedouins, making sure that they have access to medical care and usable roads. They also help them to care for their livestock, although the Bedouins have many of their own remedies that work very well. The people at the protectorate try and help them know when the animals need actual veterinary care. The Bedouin women make beaded purses and jewelry and sell them for extra income. They have even started a small company, called Fansina. The company started very small, with the goal of preserving traditional Bedouin bead work, however it has expanded and now employs over 300 Bedouin women. Their work can be found in many different stores in Cairo.
Posted at 11:02 AM by Emily Pierce