Saturday, February 14, 2009

men zamaan . . .

Hey there. So the title of this entry is 'men zamaan,' which means 'since forever' in Arabic. Appropriately titled since I haven't written anything in a while. I was feeling a little remiss, but then I got an email from a friend that my blog was a little bit dated. So, Tasha . . . this is for you! :)

The last few weeks have brought a few interesting occurrences and lessons. The first thing I learned is that the wind is not your friend when you live in a desert! I woke up for a run last week and was pretty excited that it was a bit windy. I thought it would keep the temperature down a bit and make the day more pleasant. But apparently here when you've got wind, you've got a sandstorm. By the time I finished my run about 45 minutes later I was having trouble seeing some of the buildings downtown. After another hour, I could taste the air. It was crazy!

There's a street kid that I've been getting to know here in Cairo. I see him a couple of times a week while I'm walking to language class. He's always pretty friendly and helps me practice my Arabic. I usually give him a little bit of money and hang out with him for a few minutes. Last week he asked me to buy him a pair of shoes. I told him no, and I thought to myself "I'm not going to spend my money buying this kid a pair of shoes!" As soon as I finished thinking that, God spoke to me pretty clearly. He said two things. "It's not your money, and yes you are." So I told the kid to meet me on the same corner at six o'clock and I'd take him to buy him shoes. Between then and six I talked to another friend of mine, who told me that he'd already bought the kid a pair of shoes. Apparently the kid gets foreigners to buy him shoes, then sells them back to the store and gets the money. I went back at six because I wanted to talk to the kid. He didn't show up, but I finally caught up with him again a couple of days later. I confronted him about what he'd done, but he wouldn't own up to it. So I told him that I wasn't going to give him any money for a while because he'd lied to me. He was pretty sad, but still kept talking to me every time that I saw him. After a week I started giving him money again. I felt like I was trying to teach honesty and discipline to a total stranger. I wonder what this kid thinks of me now . . .

I'm flying to Kenya in a couple of hours. There's an important meeting there I need to attend, then fly back after a couple of days. I'm looking forward to the meeting, because I think I'm going to see an old friend there that I haven't seen in a year or so. Should be pretty fun. And on top of all that, I'm looking forward to some good input from the people that I'm going to be meeting.

The same day I get back to Cairo, I'm traveling down to the Red Sea coast for a camel safari. It should be a pretty good time. My roommate's at the bus station downtown right now buying us tickets. He's awesome! Much more organized than me. All of the stuff that I forget to do, he's got covered. We're a good pair, I think. Then the day after we get back from the camel safari we have language classes starting again. I start teaching English here the same week. I decided that I wanted to start teaching English because the people here seem confused when I tell them that all I'm doing is studying language. They all expect me to have a job too, so I thought it might make it easier for them to understand what I'm doing here if I had a job too. So, I won't be making any money doing it, but hopefully my neighbors will understand me a little better now.

The picture at the top is from the Citadel. It's an old fort built by Salahadin way back in the day. It's a pretty cool place. You can look out and see the whole city from one of the lookouts. Considering how big Cairo is, that's actually quite a feat.

Okay guys, enough for now. Talk to you again when I get back . . .

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