just returned from my first meeting at a deaf "church"
service where I attended as a member of the congregation- i.e.
I didn't go there to speak or to participate in the main part
of the service. I have decided that I will go each week on Sunday
evening- I hope that it will improve my sign language skills as
well as make new friends. There were about 80 at the service and
I met quite a few interesting characters. One lady who made quite
an impression was both blind and deaf. To communicate with her
you had to use her own hands to do sign language, she would use
her own hands to communicate back. She seemed to be one of the
happiest there. She told me that she has two children- a boy and
a girl, but both grown up now. She is looking forward to them
to get married and have children. After meeting people like that
in life I wonder how so many people in life complain so much.
met someone else who can hear but attends the church service because
she has a deaf relative. She was present about two years ago when
I gave my first sketchboard lesson there. She has taken the lesson
and used it many times in different Sunday school services because
she liked it. I told her that she can copy as many of my ideas
that she wants . . . next week I will take to her the sketchboard
messages I have put on paper.
sign language is coming on OK. I still haven't become bored with
it, in fact the more I learn, the more I want to know! What is
holding me back is the lack of material to learn from. There is
no dictionary of Egyptian sign language (which exists for many
other forms of sign language) so I have to rely on meeting people.
I don't know anyone who gives formal classes in sign language
so I have had to make up my own methods! What I have learnt so
far I have passed on to others. The school which Hannah attends
has two older classes of 9-14 year-olds who are being taught sign
language by me. The school asked me to take them to the deaf school
once a month as part of their development in being aware of their
environment and serving the community. The children have learnt
fast, but I think that I'm still ahead of them, just! In four
half-hour sessions they have completely memorised the Lord's prayer,
the parable of the sower and a sermon about it! I don't think
that would be possible with any other language except sign language,
and that's why I like it so much!
had a very tiring week in the middle of the month. I was asked
to do a series of assemblies in a private school. In all I spoke
to about 400 primary school aged children giving a very simple
"presentation"- they responded well but I was exhausted
by the end of the week because I had additional meetings to attend.
I was rather surprised by their policy on children arriving late
at school. It is always a problem in Egyptian culture to get people
to do anything on time, so strict measures are often required.
They used to have the policy that all children arriving late would
immediately go to the detention room where they would stay for
the morning (and presumably catch up with the missed work in their
own time). This policy did not work because it was often the parents
who were to blame for getting them to school late. So the school
changed the policy- all children arriving late are now sent back
home for the rest of the day, no exceptions. Working parents now
have to arrange child care for the day if their child is late,
in this way it is the parents that are punished! This policy has
been quite successful apparently. I explained to my host that
this system would not work in the UK- first we are better time
keepers, if someone is late to school or work then there is usually
a good reason. Secondly, the parents would be up in arms with
such a rule and would vote it down before it became official policy.
the last two weeks of September Alison's parents stayed with us.
They were hoping for a relaxing holiday, but the girls had other
ideas- I think they returned back to the UK for a break! The girls
had a great time with them here, and for me and Alison it is always
a blessing to have an extra two pairs of hands around to help
out! We certainly needed it in their first week here when my schedule
was filled with meetings and preparation.
the end of the busy week I had an excellent time in an area at
the other side of the city from where I live. I have heard that
the area is well known for violence between nominal believers
of the two majority religions here, but there have been no incidents
recently (thank goodness!) As usual my name had been passed to
them via the grapevine. After arriving I felt strongly that I
should spend time in prayer before the meeting started. Since
most of the other leaders were busy with preparations for the
meeting they showed me to a quiet room in the building and left
me there for half an hour. Afterwards I spoke for about an hour
to a group of 7-14 year-olds and I felt a strong sense of His
Spirit in the place. I could see that lives were touched- including
mine. I will be doing a lot more praying just before the meetings
a final note, what can I say about the events that happened on
11th September? The view of the majority here lies somewhere between
the two opinions- "They had it coming to them" and "They
deserved it". Enough said.
us in your thoughts,
to Cairo Update Index
population is 66 Million
is four times the size of the UK
Only 3% of the land can be used for arable crops
has 18 million people and is growing by 1 millon each year.
is the Largest city in Africa and the Middle East
literacy rate is only 45%
total of 11 languages are spoken in Egypt
Debt per person is $790
annual income is $630
is estimated to be 17%
Approx. 85% Muslim and 15% Christian
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