Life in Cairo apartment block is pretty much dependent on the ubiquitous bowab.
He's the one to get you your morning newspaper without which the morning abulations are a herculean task.
He will, if he feels kindly towards you, also run errands for you like fetching some urgent grocery that you just must have to complete the dish that's on the gas.
He will hopefully pay your telephone bills, saving you the frustration of trying to explain to the telecom department , after your phone has been disconnected, that back home, telephone bills get delivered home enabling you to pay them on time.
He will replenish the gas cylinder when your gas runs out in the middle of that fancy thing that you were frying for a big dinner.
He will change the bulbs in your house which seem to go kaput every other week. I suspect Philips / GE have this unspoken agrement with the cable companies. Nothing else will explain the regularity with which your bulbs go on a blink.
The bowab is essentially the doorman who stays in the lobby floor. He is your best friend in the apartment building! He can do, get, or arrange anything for you if you need.
And he is the ultimate ESCAPE ARTIST!! The amazing thing about him is that he is never to be found when you need him!