A vendor sells vegetables from a truck at Abu Minqar in Egypt.
The village, deep in the country's western desert, is an example of the government's plans to ''green'' its deserts.
After drilling the first well in 1987, Egyptian authorities encouraged people to move there, promising cheap land, improved services, and infrastructure.
However, a lack of amenities, scarcity of fertilizers, and crumbling canals are creating contention among the villagers.
"The government hasn't done anything for us. They didn't even line the canals," said Ali Yassin Mara'i, 29, whose father uprooted a large family and moved to a six-acre plot 20 years ago. "Abu Minqar is far from the government's eyes."
"The government has been so sluggish in a kind of way that the community has been forced to do things on their own as much as they can," Tina Jaskolski of the Desert Development Center said. "For example they are now pooling money to buy their own little power generator for a few households—this is something we are trying to build on."
That spirit of community says something about the people living in Abu Minqar. "In terms of a social experiment, I would call it a success," Jaskolski said. "You throw people together into the desert from all parts of Egypt and they can live together peacefully. We would have expected much more conflict."
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Photograph by Steven Stanek