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Cairo Update

Date Written:
  3 February 1999
Subject:
  Children's Development
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Greetings,

We've both been ill. There's a particularly nasty virus going round at the moment that gives a sore throat, runny nose and stomach problems. That's why this update is slightly later than normal.

Big family news- Esther is taking steps!! The first one was a couple of weeks ago, she was standing by herself and lifted up her right foot which went slightly to the side, but it was a step nevertheless! Since then she has been standing independently more often and has even put together 2 or 3 steps before falling to a heap on the floor. if she is walking towards me or Alison her excitement gets the better of her and she lunges forward into our arms. She is still only 10 months old, and we remember that Hannah was 13 months old before she was walking confidently. So it may be that Esther is one step ahead, if you forgive the pun.

Last Tuesday afternoon Esther gave us all a shock. She was sat on our bed with her back to the edge, facing me. We were playing together and she decided to turn and crawl away, not realising that there was no bed behind her. I saw that she was going to fall so I grabbed her foot, but it caused her head to swing like a pendulum and strike the wooded floor with quite a thud. She cried a lot and a big bruise and swelling appeared on her forehead immediately. Fearing the worst we rushed her to the hospital to give her a check over. In the car on the way there she had already stopped crying and was actually smiling back at us. The neurologist at the hospital gave her a quick check over and sent her for some X-rays just to be sure. Actually, all doctors at private hospitals always like to do things to be on the safe side, because it means that they or the hospital will be paid more money as a result.

For the x-ray we had to hold Esther perfectly still in a couple of positions she had no desire to be in. It's surprising how strong and determined she was to struggle free from our restraints, but despite her struggles and cries we managed to get the x-rays we wanted. We think that out of all that happened Esther thought the x-ray was the most traumatic. The fall was accidental; she knew that. But to be held down forcibly for the x-ray, that was personal!

The x-rays showed a perfectly healthy skull, with many teeth still to come! (But still only two showing). The x-rays will be the only souvenir of the event- the swelling disappeared by the evening and the bruise is nearly gone now.

Hannah is playing a game with us at the moment. It's called battle of the wills, and the winner is the person who gets their own way. Of course it's always Alison and me who win but it's taking her a while to realise it. Still, I suppose it's nice to know that we have a perfectly normal three-year-old! She is getting quite articulate in her protests. Last time we went to church she didn't want to go to Sunday school. We think that it's because she once saw a puppet there, which still freaks her out. While we were still standing outside she was trying to reason with me about the merits of NOT going to Sunday school. It went something like- "But I don't want to go to Sunday school. I want to go into the big church with you. We can sit together and I'll be very quite while you listen. We'll just take a little peek at what is happening in Sunday school then go back to the big church together . . . " She made me feel like I was being quite unreasonable to expect her to go. But since I said that she HAD to go to Sunday school I took her inside. When Hannah realised that reason wasn't going to work on me she tried another tactic- wails of protest, enough to disturb the class. It worked, well sort of. We stood outside and listened to what was happening. For us to both return to the church would be an admission of failure on my behalf, and of course I couldn't let that happen.

Last week I did another S. school teacher training conference, I'm starting to loose count on how many of these I've done now. It's great to see them learning how to be creative, but sometimes I wonder how much of it they put into practice. Late last year there was a group of them that came up with some really good ideas for sketchboard messages and I've been meaning to catch up on if they've continued with it. I've heard of one guy in Alexandria who is going around and putting his own talks to some of my tricks. Great! I'm not insecure! I hope the urge to be creative spreads.

On a different note, the new crown on my tooth has had to be re-glued. Despite the dentist's assurance that only 10% of the crowns come off, mine has been dislodged two times in as many weeks. Maybe he should replace the adhesive with some of the chocolate eclairs that are the source of the problem. I'm trying to remember to chew all such sweets on the side of the mouth without the crown.

Oh, recent news. It looks like we could be buying a car. There's a couple from Finland that we know who are moving back soon, they want to sell their Fiat. Like all cars here, it's not cheap- it's a fairly low price for the type of car. Buying it is the easy bit, but learning to drive a left-hand-drive vehicle in a road full of maniacs is a different matter.

Look out Cairo, there's going to be one more maniac driver- and this one gets confused as to where the gear-stick is!

Love,

Jason, Alison, Hannah and Esther

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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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