The ten o’clock rang, and the children’s amusement park was empty of the children and their families, so Yassin, the 16-year-old, waited while the place closed its doors, then called his colleague Hazem, who was months younger, and they walked together towards a game they love, the crash vehicles, and they got on and started having fun and collide with speed, fun and joy.
Yassin works in a children’s amusement park in a popular area in Cairo, where he started working during the summer vacation before last to help his father working in a factory to spend on the family, and with the new Corona virus invading the country last March, and the government made decisions to stop various activities, including education and places of entertainment, Yassin and his friend Hazem took to the streets selling cotton candy to children passing by with their families.
Business returned to activity last summer, then schools opened their doors to pupils two months ago, but Yassin and Hazem did not return to studies, but rather returned to the children’s amusement park asking for work, and they worked with boys of similar age, and the decisions of the Ministry of Education helped them for its administrations and schools – leniently with the students For non-registration of absence – to work from 12 noon until 10 pm.
The boys working in the amusement parks start their day there every noon with each of them receiving their toys, Yassin for the crash cars, and the flying cups holder, Mahmoud for the moving horses, Ziyad for the train, and Light for the ski balloon.
And they receive their duties at work every afternoon, so that each of them starts the game, confirming its readiness and suitability for work, and if he hears a strange sound coming from it, he stops it and checks it to find out the cause of the faulty sound. The machine, “Yassin told Al-Jazeera Net,” adding, “Sometimes it is required to turn it on several times after the initial softening attempt. If it turns out that it has a malfunction and requires a technical call, we inform the club management, to avoid exposing the children who will play with it at risk.”
I am a working man, not a child
With the noise of the games spinning in the evening as soon as the children come to play in the club, the eyes of Yassin, Hazem and their companions overflow with a muffled desire for forbidden delights, a desire to have fun among their fellow boys, as Hazem expresses his chest by saying to Al-Jazeera Net, “I would like a lot to join the boys in the fun, I imagine for a moment that I am I take off my work uniform and jump on the ski balloon, to race them up and down on it, but I forcefully restrain my desire, and remind her that I am here a working man and not a child. “
Hazem plays with his favorite game after the end of work hours and the club closes, but “noisy fun among other peers has another taste.”
Not arduous task .. however
Each working boy here gets about 1,200 pounds a month for his work (the dollar equals 16.70 pounds), which is “a very modest number that does not tempt young workers who are older than these graduates to work,” according to a club workers supervisor, who refused to be named, and told Al-Jazeera Net, “Work here It does not need special skills or violent effort, just pressing the game button to run the game at the time it is programmed for, working two or 5 minutes at the best estimate and then stopping, so the children get out of it and then others enter to play with it, and when they settle in the game, the working boy turns it on, And so on”.
The supervisor believes that these boys are the best suited for this non-arduous task, especially as they need her modest monthly return to not burden their families from education and personal expenses, admitting that this is contrary to the laws criminalizing child labor and employment, and affirming that “members of the inspection campaigns from official authorities Condones their presence in the spirit of law. “
In any case, this modest monthly salary is large compared to the revenues from selling the cotton candy sweets that the boys used to make, Yassin, who is firm when the activities, including the club, are closed.
However, the owner of the small machine producing candy bars, who delivers their production to them every morning, used to prepare the remaining pieces at the end of the day, to find out how many of them were sold, then calculate his profit from the sale and give them an amount ranging between 10 and 20 pounds, and receive the rest of the sweets bags.
What was sad about Yassin and his friend Hazem, who expressed his overwhelming feeling over him at the time of receiving the money and handing over the sweets is that the man “was stingy, and we were hoping that he would leave us a few pieces of the forbidden sweets for us. We crave them for ourselves and sell them to our peers.”
These are the most dangerous games
At the Flying Saucer game, Hazem helps a boy of his age to ride it, then his brother gives him the child who is less than 5 years old to sit next to him inside a game that takes the form of an octopus with arms each ending in the form of a cup in which a rectangular seat accommodates two children, Hazem turns his face in all the cups Rest assured that everyone can settle into place safely, fastening the seat belts, then press the game play button.
Hazem talks without dropping his eyes from the flying cups up and down at different speeds, saying, “These are the most dangerous games here. If you miss them for a moment, there is a fear that the child will take off the seat belt and jump out of it in panic, and it is a circle. It is a misfortune if we do not stop the game and hurry to catch him.” Before he jumps. “
But Yassin disagreed with his friend Hazem, saying that the game of their friend Ziad is the most dangerous. “The train he is working on runs on electrified rails. It pumps energy into the train tractor and moves its carriages, and if a short circuit moves from the rails to the metallic train, its child passengers would be shocked immediately. God forbid, and then Ziyad must fully make sure every hour that there are no diamonds, and sometimes he does that himself with a tool used by electricians. “
Yassin’s speech reveals a good knowledge of electricity and ways to deal with it. He is in the second grade of the Industrial Technical High School, Department of Electricity.
His game that he does not play
The boy among these talks about the game he is working on, its features and risks, as his “game”, the game that he is running and not playing.
Yassin did not use the term “my game” for a long time, as he said, “I do not remember that I bought a special toy like other children. My family’s financial circumstances did not allow. I shared the fun with my older brothers in the Chinese-made dolls and carts that run on batteries, and they belonged to them on the principle”.
When ten in the evening strikes, and the club closes for the boys, they distribute the games not according to their tasks, as is the case at noon, but according to their preferences for them, and they play with them under the eyes of the supervisors, managers and owners of the club. The boys offer to the management to pay a fee to play, but the managers refuse to take the reward, so here, in this place, another advantage for work, in addition to the higher wage than selling the forbidden sweets to them, here they also give them some of the fun that they sell to their peers.