for us we've had a busy couple of weeks. We've just come back
from a place called "Eien Soukna" with our Arabic teacher, Fadia,
who just so happens to be a good friend too. She invited us to
her sister's holiday flat from Saturday evening till Sunday evening.
The place is beside the Red Sea- I thought that it would be cooler
being on the coast. I was completely wrong- I found out that on
average it is about 2 degrees hotter than Cairo and the name itself
means Hot Spring. Well, we spent most of the day on the beach,
first from 11am till about 1.30pm then we went inside for some
lunch. Afterwards we went to sleep for a couple of hours (well,
not Hannah, she wanted to play so Fadia stayed up with her). We
went back to the beach at about 5.30pm. This was a much nicer
time to be on the beach since the sun wasn't so hot but still
when we're there we must be in the shade unless we want to be
burnt to a crisp!
had a really good time playing in the sea. She soon learnt to
keep her mouth shut when a big wave came along! She especially
liked playing with the wet sand because it made a real mess. She
wasn't so keen at first on Daddy's diving mask and snorkel, but
eventually she realised that it was the same Daddy behind the
past few weeks have been very busy, averaging about 3 meetings
a week. Last Monday I travelled for an hour to the end of the
underground line to a place called Helwan. I've learnt through
experience never to start a journey before 9.30 am because the
underground system gets very crowded. There's been times in the
past when I've upset a lot of people by taking a sketchboard,
large bag and stand on to a crowded metro. I've literally had
to push people away from the doorway to get in with all of the
equipment, then of course I've blocked the entrance for others
to get on and off. Sometimes it's an advantage not to understand
what people are saying to you!
time there weren't major problems, also I took a friend along
who wanted to see the types of places that I visit. The place
that we went to had a children's conference from the local Methodist
congregations in the area. I had two slots in the program, 11am
and 6am. Of course I knew that these times were flexible- nothing
happens on time or according to plan here. (I actually spoke at
12.30pm and 8.00pm!) About 16 children made a first-time response.
After the meeting I spoke at length to a Sunday School teacher
who I'd met previously. I spoke to him during lunch time until
the time of the siesta- about 2.30pm. Afterwards everyone went
to sleep except me- I went shopping in Helwan to get some resources
for a trick that I was going to use later on.
everyone woke up my translator spoke to me to say that all of
the teachers (about 15 of them) were upset because I was spending
such a long time talking with the other teacher and not to them!!
This is fairly typical in this culture- it's so easy to offend
people or make them jealous! They wanted to ask me about using
the same methods as me to communicate to the children, namely
the sketchboard and tricks. I agreed to give them all a lesson
about effective communication to children, after the last talk
that evening. I eventually managed to get home just after 11pm
had a meeting later in the week where I first met the translator
at the main travel centre in the city called Ramsis (after the
pharaoh). There is a big statue of Ramsis where I met the translator
at 8am. While I was waiting I noticed some street children sleeping
on the grass beside the statue, it's a real sorry site- they were
all wearing little more than rags, nothing on their feet and as
they slept their faces were covered with flies. I'm told that
it's best not to give money because they are likely to spend it
on glue for sniffing but it's difficult to turn away and ignore
it. I saw another boy near-by trying to make a living by cleaning
shoes of people that passed by- my shoes needed a clean anyway
so I paid him well and gave him a good tip.
reminded me to visit my friends sometime in the City of Peace
just outside Cairo where they work with children like this. The
problem isn't just physical, there's big emotional needs too.
As a friend of mine said, all the children that go on the program
(run by believers) experience a 180 degree turn-around in their
lives and attitudes. I can believe it too, the love and attention
that the children experience is quite a contrast to what they
experience on the street where there is little sympathy for their
talk that I gave afterwards was about feeding the 5000- it's interesting
to read that Jesus gave the job of giving out the food to the
disciples . . .
here say that it's the hottest Summer here for 100 years- I'm
not surprised. The thermometer in the office still hasn't dropped
below 30 even in the middle of the night. Roll on October!
Alison, Hannah and Esther.
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