Sevcik's Blog

A year in Cairo Egypt

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Field Trip

On April 18th St. Andrews had it's annual field trip. For most kids, field trip day is one of the best days of the school year, and this is no exception. The staff has been talking about the field trip for months, and the day finally came! Thanks much to Matt, who was the planner and organizer, the day went so smoothly and it was a blast!

When I first arrived to school that morning I knew something was different. First of all, every student was there early and ready to go (on time!), including the teens who don't normally come to school until 12:30pm. But, more than sheer numbers showed a change. The students were all dressed up! Girls came in their best outfits, many wearing cute skirts and high heels. They had different hair styles, and some of the Muslim girls decided to take off their hijab for the day, so it was the first time I'd seen their hair. One little boy, maybe 11 years old, was wearing a full suit with a bow tie! It was adorable! He looked like he was going to be a ring bearer for a wedding. Culturally, Africans dress up when they are "going out" like this, because it is such a big deal. (Funny, in America we wear our worst clothes on field trip day because we are bound to get dirty!) There was so much joy and excitement in the air. Everyone perked up so much and I've never seen them so excited and happy. Those kids need that more than anyone.

We loaded the kids onto buses and headed off to International Park, which was a better park than I expected. It was full of grassy areas and different landscaping, a tram going around the park, lots of snacks and ice cream, and plenty of activities (bumper cars, paddle boats, zoo area, garden area, etc.) We brought hulla hoops, soccer balls, jump ropes, one football and one basketball with us to keep the kids active. Actually, only one class was able to see the "zoo" area because of the birds. In other words, yes, they were afraid of the Bird Flu so we had to get out. So, the 'zoo'. It mostly had peacocks, other birds, and monkeys. Those poor animals looked so sick. The monkey's natural red bottoms were not their natural state--one poor monkey had layers of bubbling out infections all over its behind. It was so sad to see.

Onto the good day story...okay, so, like I said the kids had a wonderful day. As soon as we got to the park they were running all over playing games and laughing. I spent a lot of time in the morning talking with the Fira girls, so of course I was loving that. Mariam said her mom was nervous about all 5 of her children going on this field trip so she gave the youngest boy 5 pounds so long as he agreed to stay home. Apparently he jumped at that because he loves the Internet cafe so much. Cute.

After returning to St. Andrews we had a McDonalds hafla (party), which was a huge hit. Really, EVERYONE loved it. McDs had three of the characters come to school (Birdie Hamburgler, and Grimace) and they were dancing for a couple hours with the kids. The music? American rap and pop mixed with some Egyptian hits. The teens went nuts, and wow can they dance. They even danced the chicken dance! Of course, McDs is still 'ol McDonalds because in the end they handed out flags with the arch on one side and a character on the other, along with a bunch of stickers. A lot of advertisement. Fiona mentioned something that really struck me. Here we were dancing around and eating McDonalds, holding onto McDs flags and putting stickers on people, and next week we are going to be handing out packages of food given to us by the UNHCR for each student. Really, it was strange that a week ago we were receiving tons of staple food items from the UNHCR to give away and on field trip day the kids were munching on Mcburgers.


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