Sevcik's Blog

A year in Cairo Egypt

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Teacher Appreciation Part Duex

Due to the protests outside of St. Andrews, we had to cancel the Teacher Appreciation evening, and I was more than disappointed. First of all, we need to appreciate the teachers! (Even though we rescheduled for July during summer school, I won't be here for it.) Also, it was my chance to give my own individual thanks to all the people who have worked so hard and put up with me all year. :-)

In the past every St. Andrew's volunteer has held a "going away" party at Dawson Hall, inviting the St. Andrew's staff and friends. I decided to do the same, and only have St. Andrew's staff and volunteers over as a joint "going away" and "teacher appreciation" evening.

I spent an hour to two buying supplies the day before the party, and then shopping ALL day the day of the party. See, in Egypt, there are no Targets or Rainbow foods. For vegetables I went to the veggie man, for fruit the fruit souk, for eggs I went to the egg man, for cake mix I went to the Metro Market, for cookies I went to the sweets shop, etc. I was all over Cairo, and without a car! Even with the help of the two maids at RCG who graciously picked up huge watermelons and other random things, it literally took a lot of arm strength and sweating around the 90 degree city to get prepared for this event.

It was a great time! Guests actually showed up on American time too! I almost wasn't ready for it! From 8pm to 11pm about 25 people came over for some snacks and desserts. Being that all my music is country or praise music, I was scrapping for some reggae and African tunes and thankfully Jay was able to set up his computer and speakers with a CD he got from a friend living in Zambia. A few teachers decided to show me how to dance African, which was a lot of me looking really silly and a lot of them enjoying a good laugh. I made Kool-aid, which turned out to be a big hit. The bright neon green-looking strawberry kiwi concoction really weirded people out at first, but who can deny such sugarly goodness? :-)

Towards the end of the night I was handing out cards and photos for my teachers and some staff when Yohannes told me we needed to gather and give speeches. A half-dozen or so people stood up to talk about the year. They told me I must not forget them, ever, and they want to see me in Sudan some day. One teacher even used the time to try to convince Dick he should open a St. Andrew's School in Sudan. What was clear to me was people feeling so appreciative that there are people who care about their situation, who recognize they are refugees, and who want to help. I felt so loved by this, and yet so undeserving. I then gave my own speech, explaining how much I care for them and how much I will miss them, but also apologizing for not getting to know them better--for staying in my office too much and running past them "being productive" too often. I do regret that, and it will be something I have to work through, knowing I missed out on a lot of relationships.

A couple of the men who work in the Arc came with gifts for me. One was a fuzzy handpurse with a puffy dog on the front, complete with pink ribbon on its ears, with the saying "I love you" on the bottom. The other came with a Pink Baby Minnie (complete with a bib!) stuffed animal. So wonderful!


  • At 7/20/2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This post reminds me of a post by Dr. Sanity in which she argues that "much of Muslim culture (particularly in the Middle East) has evolved into a structure for the sole purpose of containing female sexuality. This containment has not only become a key aspect of the worship of their god; but it also is a key factor in individual personality development; as well as the main pollutant of all social interactions."

    I recently read Flaubert in Egypt and was struck by the open sensuality which seemed to exist in Egypt in the 19th century. It suggests to me (though I am hardly an expert on Egyptian mores) that attempts to obliterate the female form are of fairly recent vintage.



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