Visiting the Dreaded Mogamma in Tahrir

by | Egyptian Arabic Diaries

Learn Arabic as it is really spoken. Listen to and read Egyptian Colloquial Arabic.

If you’ve ever had the “pleasure” of visiting the dreaded Mogamma, you’ll empathize with Ahmed and understand why he had to make three trips just to get one document issued.

مكنتش مصدق اللي بيتقال عن مجمَّع التحرير من كلام الناس والأفلام. كنت فاكرهم بيبالغوا، لحد ما في يوم اضطريت اروح اطلَّع ورقة. أول مرة كنت رايح الساعة ١٢ الضهر وكانت الامور عادية جدًا. بس عرفت لما سألت اني كان لازم اروح من الساعة ٦ قبل معاد شغل الموظفين. وأقف في طابور عشان آخد الاستمارة اللي هطلَّع بيها الورقة. اتضايقت جدًا لما عرفت ده لأن المجمَّع في القاهرة، وأنا من محافظة تانية فبسافر مدة طويلة عشان اوصلٌه.تاني مرَّة، رحت بدري جدًا السَّاعة ٥ الصٌبح، ورغم ده مكنتش أول واحد موجود في المجمَّع، ولقيت ناس بايتين هناك. وقفنا في طابور كبير جدًا لحد ما المجمَّع فتح السَّاعة ٩. كنت فاكر انَّي لمَّا أدخل كل حاجة هتبقى سهلة، بس عرفت لمَّا دخلت اني هقف في طابور تاني كبير للاسانسير، وبعده طابور للقسم اللي رايحله. كلمة طابور بتوحي ان الامور منظَّمة، لكن الطَّابور المصري مختلف، ملهوش شكل ثابت ومحتاج خبرة في التَّعامل معاه. بعد معاناة لأكتر من ٦ ساعات لأن المكان كان زحمة جدًا، خرجت ومعايا الورقة اللي كنت عايزها. المُضحك أنّي في خلال ال٦ ساعات المملين دول، اتعرَّفت على ناس من محافظات مختلفة ولمَّا خرجنا مع بعض، احتفلنا لأننا كنَّا حاسين أنَّنا عملنا إنجاز.من فرحتي وأنا خارج مبصيتش في الورقة وخدتها وجريت، وبعد ما روَّحت، اكتشفت أن اسمي مكتوب عليها غلط، قعدت اضحك بشكل هستيري. طبعًا رحت تاني والمرة دي اتأكدت أن كل حاجة صح لأن زى ما المثل بيقول: “محدِّش بيتلسع من الشوربة مرتين”. أتمني أنِّي مضطرِّش اروح المكان ده تاني خالص.

I didn’t believe what was being said about Mogamma El Tahrir by people and in the movies. I thought they were exaggerating, until one day when I had to go get a document processed. The first time, I went at 12 noon and things were quite normal, but I found out when I asked that I was supposed to have been there at 6 o’clock, before employees’ working hours and stand in line in order to get the form that I would use to issue the document. I became annoyed when I learned this because the Mogamma is in Cairo and I am from another governorate, so I had traveled for a long time to get there. The second time, I went so early, at 5 in the morning. And despite that, I wasn’t the first person present in the Mogamma, and I found people had spent the night there. We stood in a very long line until the Mogamma opened at 9 o’clock. I thought that as soon as I entered, everything would be easy, but I saw when I entered that I would stand in another long line for the elevator, and after that, a line for the department that I was going to. The word “line” suggests that things are organized, but the Egyptian line is different. It doesn’t have a consistent structure and requires experience in dealing with it. After struggling for more than six hours because the place was so overcrowded, I left with the document that I needed. The funny thing is that for those six boring hours, I met people from different governorates, and as soon as we got out of there, we celebrated because we were feeling that we had accomplished something. Out of my joy, while leaving, I didn’t look at the document, took it and ran off. And after I had gone home, I found out that my name was misspelled on the document, I laughed hysterically. Of course, I went again and this time, I made sure that everything was right because as the saying goes: “No one is burned twice by soup.” I hope that I don’t have to go to that place ever again!