Dylan and I took advantage of cooler weather and a free Saturday to visit Alexandria, a two and a half hour train ride away. You can see some highlights in the photos below!
Ta-dah! It's been the busiest week ever, but the team was great and accomplished a ton while they were here! A brief run-down:
Thursday - arrived and went out to dinner
Friday - clinic and kids show at Garbage City
Saturday - clinic and kids show at Kiloarabawenos, speaking with women in Haram
Sunday - sightseeing in Alexandria
Monday - clinic at African Hope high school (about 120 kids and teachers)
Tuesday-Thursday - clinic at African Hope primary school (about 400 kids and teachers)
Friday - sightseeing at the pyramids
Saturday - left VERY early in the
And that was it! The women did a great job of keeping up and working long hours in the clinics. I'm sure they'll all be glad to get 8 hours of sleep again now that they're home! I'm looking forward to that too...
I would say three things about this week.
1. It's exhausting to be on call 24/7, especially when you're on call mainly as a trouble-shooter. In theory, everything was all arranged before they got here, but I'd say there were at least three or four extras that came up every day that I had to figure out. I'm now really paranoid and imagine that I hear my phone ringing when it's not. Dylan says I'll make a full recovery, in time.
2. It was definitely empowering to be leading a group. I've driven around more, taken more taxis, called more people, visited more places, etc etc. I feel much more at home in Maadi having had to tell other people where to go and having had to get around more myself. I carried around a map of Maadi all week because I never knew where I'd need to go next, but by the end of the week I didn't really need it.
3. God was definitely watching out for me/us. He kept giving me and the team energy when we should all have been dead tired. One day my phone started beeping low battery at 7am, just after we arrived at the clinic for the day, and I assumed it would die in like 10 minutes which would have been disaster. I prayed and it actually lasted until I got home that evening - and I used it all day. One day Dylan needed to bring our lunches and we didn't have a car so I prayed God would send him a good taxi, and he actually ran into one of our regular drivers, Mustafa, who was able to take him in his car. God provided an Egyptian doctor who volunteered to work with us and who was able to get medicines for many of the students. He had not had any contact with the school or church before, but when he heard what we were doing he wanted to help! Nobody got sick or lost or hurt, and everyone maintained a good attitude the whole week. I hope all short-term trips are like that!
Thanks for your prayers this week - as you can see they made a difference. Today is my first real free day since last Wednesday so I'm going to relax!
I'd been half dreading, half looking forward to today. October 7. Today was the day my team from Times Square Church in NYC would arrive in Egypt for a short-term missions trip. I've been planning and organizing this trip pretty much since I started working back in August, and slightly panicking about it for the last two weeks as I tried to get everything ready!
After rushing around all morning doing last minute things, I went with the driver (Medhat) to the airport to pick up the team. The van we went in seemed a little small - there are 9 people in the team, plus me, and the seats for 10 people took up ALL the space inside. Medhat assured me that we would put all the luggage on top. Okay...
As you may guess, women on a 10 day trip to Egypt don't exactly pack lightly. We had 18 suitcases to deal with. Medhat started piling them on the roof, but had to stop when we had three levels of bags and still 5 or 6 more to go. Down went the last row of seats so we could fit the bags in. Thank goodness this team has a sense of humor - they were snapping pictures of the pile of bags and laughing (all the while saying, "he's gonna tie that down right?"). We crammed in the remaining seats and were off -
- to a very slow start. As it turns out, the weight of all the bags on top was messing with the clutch (something to do with the stick shift) so we went about 5-10 miles per hour for ages and had to pull of twice (once to put another rope over the bags and once for the driver to try to fix the clutch). After the second time I asked the drive, "fi mishkala?" Is there a problem? Instead of saying, no, no no problem, like I expected, he held up his hands and shrugged. Uh-oh.
We ended up stopping by someone else who was working on their car and borrowing a wrench, which Medhat was able to use to fix whatever was wrong with the clutch. Then we were going strong for a while -
- until we got lost. Unfortunately, I don't know Maadi very well outside my little triangle of home/church/metro, so I was no help. Fortunately our transportation coordinator Nabil was on hand to come find us and lead us to the place the team will be staying (a convent actually - somehow connected to France, because all the sisters speak French and Arabic).
I got the team settled in and then went to sort out the food situation. I had delegated the task of buying food to someone else, and the convent had refused to let her in because she wasn't with me and they didn't know her. Woops... So the food was in the church office and we had to go and fetch it and bring it back to the convent for tomorrow's breakfast.
After a really brief break at home, Dylan and I headed out to walk the team to dinner on Road 9. We ate at Lucille's, which has the best hamburgers in the world, according to Time magazine (the article is framed and displayed on the restaurant wall). The burgers were delicious, everyone enjoyed it, and after walking everyone back to the convent again, I finally signed off hosting duty for the night and went home.
The team will be here through next Friday, so if you think of it, pray for them as they work and for me as I host and continue to work out all the logistics! They are here to serve and are excited to see what God will have them do. I'm excited too!
Month one went pretty fast,
All that free time was a blast.
Alas, in month 2 we weren’t allowed to relax.
Christiy’s mornings were taken by church work (and play)
While Dylan spent his days subbing away.
Afternoons often filled with Arabic too,
Learning fatah and kasra and shadda and skoon.
Teaching English and tutoring took half the nights each week
Leaving Dylan and Christiy exhausted and meek.
The weekends were lifesavers with free time to spare
Although softball and church claimed some space there.
Hot weather continued, as I’m sure it always will
(November, they tell us, is when we’ll feel a chill).
We’ve spent time together and hung out with friends
Talking football and movies and other odds and ends.
We’re living in Egypt – in Africa – the Middle East
Please continue to join us, on this blog at least.