World Café

Travel the World Café at Elizabethtown Public Library

Elizabethtown Coffee Company is the heart of the World Café program at Elizabethtown Public Library and helps to advance our mission. The vision of the World Café is to increase awareness of authors, cultures and realities from around the globe. We want everyone to be able to discover new places and different ideas that expand our thinking and our minds.

Each month the Library selects a different location. Sometimes its a region within the United States. It might be a coffee or tea growing country and it may even be a body of water that houses sea creatures and mythical beings. You can sign up to participate in this year-long program and complete your World Café passport for a year of exploration and a chance to win fun prizes.

May Features Egypt!

Location & Geography

Egypt is located in the northwestern corner of Africa and also includes the Sinai peninsula, which is in Asia. The Sinai shares a land border with Israel and has coastline along the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gulf of Aqaba in the southeast, the Red Sea at the southernmost point, and the Gulf of Suez extending to the Suez Canal on the west. The larger landmass of Egypt also has coastline along the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Gulf of Suez and Red Sea to the east. Libya is to the west and Sudan is to the south.

The Sahara, the largest hot desert in the world, makes up most of African Egypt, while the Sinai Peninsula also has an inland desert. Only 3% of Egypt is arable land, and 96% of the country is desert. The Nile River is the only river in the Sahara which consistently is flowing.

Due to the reliability of the Nile, the immediate land along its coasts creates a highly fertile land which Egyptians have utilized for thousands of years. Through the construction of canals, dams, and water pumps, and the strict practices of crop rotation, the farms along the Nile have high yielding harvests in the summer and winter. The construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 assisted to regulate the flow of the Nile so that excessive or minimal flooding was less disastrous. Other benefits of the dam was the creation of 1 million additional acres of farmland and the hydroelectric power created by the dam which doubled Egypt’s power generating capabilities at the time.

Since the majority of Egypt is a desert, roughly 95% of the more than 100 million residents of Egypt have settled along the Nile. This has resulted in a high density of people in cities along the river and Nile delta, with some governorates having well over 5,000 people per square mile. Over population is a difficulty in Egypt. While the birth rate has decreased from over 5 children per woman in the 1980s to under 3 children now due to planned parenting initiatives, the problem of over population is still extant since the government has not made population control a high priority.

History

Humans have settled in Egypt, especially along the Nile River for thousands of years. The civilization we call Ancient Egypt formed towards the end of the 4th millennium BCE with the First Dynasty. The capital of this Dynasty was Thinis, and Narmer, who may also be known as Menes, became the first pharaoh when he unified Egypt.

Egypt is a figurative goldmine for archaeologists due to the remarkable discoveries which were left by these ancient peoples. The hot and dry climate also helped to preserve the items which were lost to time and have since been recovered. Egypt is also known for its monuments, temples, and especially pyramids which were built by the former inhabitants of the land.

When thinking about Egyptian pyramids, most people immediately picture the Great Pyramids of Giza. This is unsurprising since the Great Pyramid, constructed for Pharaoh Khufu around 2540 BCE, is the tallest pyramid in the world and is the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world which has survived.

These, however, are not the oldest pyramids in Egypt. That honor goes to the step pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser located in Saqqara. Pictured here, this step pyramid, designed by Imhotep and built in the mid-27th century BCE, revolutionized burial practices for royals in ancient Egypt. You can learn more about this pyramid and the wealth of ancient structures in Egypt at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt’s website.

A Crafty Crocodile

The Nile River, as already noted, is a prominent feature of Egypt. Other than providing for the people of Egypt, it is also home to many animals. One particular animal features in our craft this month: The Nile Crocodile.

One of the largest living reptiles in the world (the largest is the saltwater crocodile), the Nile crocodile is an apex predator which is found in eastern and southern Africa and Madagascar. While the majority of its diet consists of fish, by which it plays an important role of managing predatory fish populations, it also eats mammals, birds, and other crocodiles.

The Nile crocodile was nearly hunted to extinction in the 20th century, but has since recovered with a current conservation status of “least concern”. Its habitat is still threatened with the creation of agricultural land, hunting, poisoning, and water pollution.

When visiting the Library, remember to pick up your craft to create your own crocodile swimming through the waters of the longest river in the world.

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