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Cairo Update

Date Written:
  18 November 1997
  Short Notice
  Return to Cairo Update Index

Greetings! (Are these updates getting later and later . . . )

Another busy weekend here!

An Egyptian full-time children's worker gave me a call on Saturday to ask me to go to a large children's meeting at a regular meeting place on Sunday (yes, the next day!). There was not much room for manouver since she informed me that all the children were already expecting me, and that invitations and notices had been printed to say that I was going as the main attraction . . . hmm. These are typical Egyptian tactics to get you to go at short notice. She wasn't lying about the notices and invitations either because I saw them when I was there.

She informed me that there would be 150 children and that I had 2 and a half hours. I managed to get the time down to 1 and a half hours since I knew that this would be on the verge of both the Children's attention span and the limit of what I could cope with at short notice.

The meeting went exceptionally well. One of the teachers who work there came to me afterwards almost in tears to say that many of the children made first-time commitments.

While I was there they informed my that they were already planning a meeting next week (this coming Friday) where they want me to speak again, this time there will be over 500 children present. I'm just glad that they gave me a week's notice!

I arrived back late and I felt exhausted, I had already poured in a lot of time and energy into the preparation and delivery and the best that I could do on the way back was to relax in front of a Shakespeare video. We collectively own a video recorder here and we get a turn to borrow it one week in three, I was glad that this week was ours!

I was shocked to hear about the attack on tourists yesterday with over 60 killed. Both Christians and Muslims here are always horrified at this kind of event. There are some things about the last tourist attack that I could write about but it is probably best not to.

As far as I can tell, an Islamic group called a cease fire to attacks on tourists several months ago, then asked for dialogue with the government. They refused, saying that there was nothing to talk about. Now it appears that the troubles have started again. We don't really feel that we are in any danger here because we never visit tourist places or travel with them- the target seems to be tourists and not foreigners.

It's a short update this week, time's short . . . (know what I mean?)


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It's a Fact!

Facts about Egypt:

  • Egypt's population is 66 Million

  • Egypt is four times the size of the UK

  • Only 3% of the land can be used for arable crops

  • Cairo has 18 million people and is growing by 1 millon each year.

  • Cairo is the Largest city in Africa and the Middle East

  • Official literacy rate is only 45%

  • A total of 11 languages are spoken in Egypt

  • Public Debt per person is $790

  • Average annual income is $630

  • Unemployment is estimated to be 17%

  • Religion: Approx. 85% Muslim and 15% Christian

  • Most Christians are affiliated to the Orthodox Church, less than 1% of the population are Protestant

  • There are an estimated 100,000 street children in Egypt


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