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Cairo Update

Date Written:
  28 February 2001
  Flying visit to the UK
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Greetings from Cairo!

Many of you have heard that I had a flying visit to the UK at the beginning of the month. I had a phone call from my brother at 3am on a Wednesday evening to say that my Dad had a stroke and was in hospital, the prognosis was not good.

I cancelled my meetings for the following two weeks and arranged a flight to the UK for the Friday. I met my brother in Hereford, and together we drove to Leeds and went to the hospital where he was. My grandmother and my Dad's wife were there but my Dad never regained consciousness. The doctor explained that the condition was actually a massive cerebral haemorrhage in the centre of the brain, and he would never recover. He was correct, my Dad passed away the following evening.

It has been quite a difficult time, and to honest I found the funeral more difficult to cope with than actually being with him when he died. Of course I have the usual feelings of remorse that I did not write to him more often, but in a way I'm glad it was over with quickly for him. Since he didn't have a will I was able to help out with sorting out his estate before I returned to Cairo on the 15th of February. I have appreciated the many messages of condolence which people have sent; this is the first time anyone close to me has actually died so it has been an added strain.

I haven't been doing much since my return, the time in the UK had been quite an emotional strain so I have been happy to take it easy and sort out my computer by getting new hardware for it and updating the operating system to Windows ME.

Not taking meetings has enabled me to spend more time with the children too. Actually, I'm seeing a lot more of Lydia now since Alison and I came to an agreement that I would take Lydia at night until 6am then I get to sleep in the morning. Lydia has not been a good sleeper, and recently we decided that she would skip her feeds from Alison in the night, Lydia knows that she will get nothing from me so in theory she should not cry as often. Hmmm. Children don't always see logic, especially 13-month-olds. Last night I managed to sleep from 11:30pm till 2am, then I was awake with her until 6am. Lydia has developed quite a good technique for keeping me awake. She used to cry a lot, and eventually cry herself off to sleep. I set up a mattress on the floor of the living room for this purpose, so that we can sleep together without keeping the rest of the family awake.

Now she doesn't cry for long spells as much. Instead she will play with my face until I am sufficiently awake and willing to play with her. Then later she will go to sleep, but in about 20 minute intervals she will cry out loud of a few seconds while she turns over, then goes back to sleep again. Of course, after I have been woken up several times I can't get back to sleep again so last night I did some computer work during her "cry out at regular intervals" stage.

Today was the first hot day of the year. The Egyptians tend to keep on their winter clothes until the end of March, but by UK standards it was like a summer's day, about 25 degrees C. Last night I noticed a mosquito buzzing around me too, as the warmer weather arrives they come out at about the same time so I guess that it is a mixed blessing! Soon we will have to put on the fans to stay cool during the day, then leave them on to stay cool at night too.

A short update this month. I'm sure I will have more to report next time.

Toodle pip,


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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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