doubt for you guys it feels like it's getting close to Christmas.
You may be pleased to hear that the weather has started to turn
colder for us too- sometimes my feet get cold whilst walking around
in the flat but there's no heating to put on to take the chill
out of the air. Never mind, it's a small price to pay for having
nice weather for the rest of the year.
had three performances over the last two days whilst trying to
rush to get work finished for my software firm in London. My first
engagement was for the orphanage, which I mentioned in my last
update. This was an event to raise money for the orphanage over
the next year and I was happy to help out. My first obstacle was
to try to get the the event- it was in a large congregation in
the middle of a crowded part of the city. I managed to get the
the general area without many problems via the city's underground
metro. After I got to street level and made a few turns the scenery
changed to how I imagine medieval England; the streets were narrow,
the road was a dirt track and it was very crowded and busy. As
I walked through this scene wearing my children's entertainer's
outfit and a big sketchboard I felt like a spot on a domino.
followed the directions in my hand precisely but the meeting place
wasn't there! This is a lesson that I've learnt several times
now- Egyptians don't know how to give directions! I like to hear
precise instructions in a step-by-step manner but Egyptians send
you to the general area and expect you to ask someone else. In
this culture it would be a shameful thing for an Egyptian to say
"I don't know" when asked directions- they feel that they have
to make up an answer in order to sound useful. I asked several
people for directions in how to get to the place and I got several
different answers. I ended up going in the general direction of
the majority opinion and eventually got to the meeting place.
I arrived it was obvious that the meeting was much bigger than
I expected (I should be used to surprises like this now!) a few
hundred adults and children- and lots of the children were from
the orphanage. The children recognised me from the last time and
crowded round me and followed me wherever I went. This was unfortunate
because I needed some peace and quite to get set-up! I was pleased
with the performance but I had to rush off to get to the next
meeting . . .
next meeting was quite close to our flat, in fact it is with the
Arabic speaking congregation with whom we have close contact.
I try to do their children's meeting every other week but recently
I've had to cancel some of these. After I arrived back home I
was quite tired because I had been up early in the morning and
I had been very busy since I left. I lay down to "meditate" on
what to do at the next meeting and promptly fell asleep . . .
awoke with just over an hour to plan, prepare and translate the
next talk. It is quite surprising because I tend to work much
better under pressure like this although I don't always like doing
it. I'd spent some time the day before trying to think about what
to do without much success, but now I had to do it in a few minutes
the ideas seemed to come to me quicker. Alison helped too, then
I phoned my Arabic teacher to ask her if I could call by in order
to translate the talk then paint the sketchboard at her place-
she's very gracious and agreed readily to it! After my quick visit
I went to the children's meeting where I delivered the sketchboard
talk to a class full of very attentive children. After this I
could go back to bed and sleep again . . .
still give my talks in English but I paint the words in Arabic
(this is what I need the translation for), everything that I say
must be translated by one of the other teachers. I really appreciate
the work that they do but my aim is to talk completely in Arabic.
Sometimes I learn a set few phrases in order to do a trick but
it takes some time to completely memorise set-pieces like this.
only meeting which I had today was a child's birthday party- fortunately
this didn't take much planning since I have some ready-prepared
material for such occasions.
has been poorly recently with a nasty virus that has been going
around. Alison had it last week but she is coming to the end of
it, and so is Hannah, thankfully! Hannah had a really bad cough
yesterday but today it has cleared-up. Because of this both Alison
and Hannah spent much of this week indoors- it would be a shame
to pass the virus on to anyone else! (Although still, I'm unaffected
. . . )
from us next week,
Alison and Hannah.
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