Christians here celebrate Christmas on January 7th so for us the
celebrations will be extended somewhat!
spent New Year with a friend who is staying with us for a few
days. She is flying back to South Africa in a few days and needed
to stay somewhere until then because the lease on the accommodation
expired at the end of December. Hannah's happy because she really
likes her and so she's seeing lots of her at the moment.
the moment I feel that I have a 9 till 5 job. That is 9pm till
5am, really!! The work that I'm doing for my software company
in London is best done at night- it is quiet, no disturbances,
no phone calls. Most of all no Hannah! She finds it difficult
to understand if I say that I have work to do- while I'm up and
awake she feels that she has the right to play with me. Now I'll
often start work at about 10ish and work through to about 6 or
7am then go to bed. Alison will wake me up at about 1 O'clock
to have brunch then my day will continue as normal. I may also
have an additional nap in the late afternoon. This arrangement
suits me fine since I've always worked best at night- I'm still
getting my full quota of 7and a half hours sleep per day.
the work is busy like this I only have time to do a couple of
meetings a week. The kind of events that I am getting invited
to are getting larger and larger. An unusual one that I went to
recently was on New Year's Eve. My Arabic teacher (who goes to
a near-by congregation) invited me to her family party to do the
entertainment. She is the one of 12 children in her family, and
when all of the brothers and sisters meet together along with
their spouses and children there are usually over 70 in attendance
- this was one such event. The thing that makes this kind of party
different to those in the West in that all the families were together-
ie along with the children of all ages. In England the teenagers
would want to go out by themselves and the young children would
stay at home with the baby sitter - but this is an entirely different
culture! The sense of belonging to a wider family is very important.
was meeting at a certain place at 10pm on New Year's Eve. There
are many believers in the family and I was asked to go not just
to do the entertainment but also to give a "presentation" to the
others. I was glad to be given the opportunity to do this and
I dutifully turned up at 10pm to find hardly anyone else there-
of course this is Egypt and here NOTHING happens on time! I waited
till about 11pm and still not many had turned up. I explained
to my teacher that I needed to be at home by 12:30 since we will
be communicating via the computer to our parents in England. She
said that it was best to go now since it would be a while before
everyone turns up. I got home in time for the new year!
a computer talk-through to our parents on New Year's Day (our
time!) I went back to the party and by this time it was gone 2am
and the party was in full swing! Parties here go on through the
night quite literally. It was like walking into an over-crowded
pub, full of noise, music and smoke. The oldest brother had arranged
some party games which everyone enjoyed watching and playing in.
I wasn't quite sure if my "presentation" was going to work in
this kind of situation- I knew that maybe half of the those present
wanted me there but the other half didn't- and the only way to
keep one side happy was to upset the other half . . .
needn't have worried. The Egyptians are very hospitable and I
was warmly welcomed by them and forced to participate in some
of the games before going onto my slot. I first did some tricks
for them which they really enjoyed (it's wonderful to hear gasps
of amazement coming from them- English audiences just aren't so
impressed for some reason!!) followed by a sketchboard talk. They
ALL enjoyed it- up until that point the atmosphere was like a
rowdy pub but they went quiet when I started. At the end I played
an Arabic worship song on my guitar to which they joined in with-
then one of the older sisters came to the front to finish off
the time with a word of prayer.
party finished at 4am and I was back in the flat at 5. My Arabic
teacher received loads phone calls the next day to thank me for
the time there. She said that many had been touched through the
message. . . and they want me to speak to them again . . .
Thursday I go to Alexandria to speak at a children's club on Friday
morning. Afterwards they arranged a teachers conference for me
to speak at to give ideas on how to do a creative presentation,
and to give the teachers new ideas for S. School. It is for all
of the S. School teachers in Alexandria so I've heard that it
will be about a couple of hundred. These kind of conferences are
usually exhausting so please "think" about me at this time.
for everything else- it goes on a normal.
Alison and Hannah
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