Sevcik's Blog

A year in Cairo Egypt

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Mosques and Ultimate Frisbee

I had a GREAT day today! It started with a tour of Islamic Cairo with the Dialogue Forum and ended with playing Ultimate Frisbee in the Gezira Club. We toured the Sultan Hassan Mosque, Al Rifai Mosque, and Qasr al Amir taz. The Sultan Hassan mosque was built in 5 years in 1352. On the left side of the entrance is a slab of black marble for people with “blind eyes” and on the right side is a slab of white marble for people with physical handicaps; the Sultan will hand out money to these people each week. We saw the four elements of the mosque—pulpit (where the man preaches), the niche (where a man speaks against a wall in the direction of Mecca and the voice is echoed), the stand where a man projects the prayers so all can hear, and the Chair of Islam where the Imam sits cross-legged and reads the large hand-written Quran. The four schools of Islam have been taught at this mosque (100 students per school) in the four corners of the courtyard. Also, there used to be a thriving hospital there—used as quarantine during the black plague. When we toured the Al Rifai Mosque we saw the tombs of Muhamed Ali’s grandson’s four wives; a French, Egyptian, Greek, and Turkish woman. Also, the mosque is depicted on the 10 pound Egyptian note.

This afternoon I met with Tamboura and Rania (both work at St. Andrews) to play Ultimate Frisbee at the Gezira Club. I believe the Lord answered some prayers with this experience. The Gezira Club is on Zamalak Island on the Nile and one of the only places in Cairo where fields of green exist. In general it’s very expensive to get into the club, but going into a side gate we pay Le 3 to use a small portion of one field to play Frisbee. The team is composed of young adults from Europe, Egypt, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Burma, Canada, America, etc. who gather each week to let out some energy in an intense 2 hours of Ultimate Frisbee. A great melting pot! And guess what? There is a TRACK there as well! It’s a dirt track, about a mile long and loops around a number of fields. After playing one game of ultimate I decided to spend time running. When I reached the far side of the track I found a 400m turf track to run on as well. I saw men playing soccer, a man timing his son doing 50m dashes, and a birthday party using a field for entertainment and dancing. There was a mosque as well, and at sundown a number of people (including Rania) took a break to pray.

After the game five of us went to a coffee/tea shop to relax and drink some fresh mango juice. Our group included a computer science man from Burkina Faso who speaks 4 languages, a man from Burma who speaks 8 languages, an Egyptian man working his way through school at AUC and Cairo University for a double master’s degree, another man, and me. We had good conversation, and I felt very comfortable with each of these men.

And guess what? As I walked around town today I counted the number of men who DIDN’T look at me at all. I counted over 25. I thank the Lord for these 25+ men today who don’t get a rat’s bottom about me in any shape or form! That’s quite funny, actually—thanking God for men who are not interested in me at all! J


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