Hello dear Sparkfriends,
My Sunday in Cairo started with a gift. As my colleague Mumtaz and I arrived at an Orthodox Coptic church in a very poor neighborhood of Cairo, this lady gestured for me to approach and gave me some 'holy bread'.
Wasn't it a great welcome gift? I had the bread for dinner later that day, and it was lovely!
Mumtaz, who is the photojournalist on our projects in Egypt, treated me like some kind of star and took many pictures of me! Here I am outside the church!
And here is the view from the church on the neighboring building:
I had never seen that kind of cross before. It was like a double cross.
Inside the Church, men sat on one side and women on the other.
The paintings on the ceiling represented the Christ and the 3 Evangelists.
Mumtaz explained to me that the window was typical from a church in Egypt. It represented Mary, Joseph and Jesus fleeing to Egypt on a donkey. I thought the donkey was fun!
My Arabic is non-existant, so I looked around a lot and apart from looking at the paintings and windows, I looked at the children!
The little girl below was baptized on Sunday. She is wearing a 'bride's veil'. She was so cute!
This one was patiently waiting for her mother to end her phone call!
After the service, I spoke with a nun who works in a school we work with. She explained to me that the school was funded by a famous French nun, Sister Emmanuelle, in one of the poorest areas of Cairo. At the time there were a few dozen children. There are 2,500 today.
After church, we stopped in a garden where there is a very old olive tree. Only the trunk is left. According to the Egyptian tradition, Mary, Joseph and Jesus stopped under that tree during their time in Egypt.
I just thought it was nice to see some flowers and trees and to be able to enjoy the sunshine!
Nothing very exciting today I am afraid, as I spent the day in our office meeting with the directors. More meetings tomorrow, but I'll also visit a literacy class in the evening, so that should be great!
When I got back to the hotel tonight, I followed my colleague Ramez's advice and decided to look for a restaurant in the neighborhood. (Don't worry, it is a safe neighborhood and it was only 7pm.) I am not too impressed with the hotel's food, so it was a very welcome change. It was nice to walk a little too. I had some hummus and some grilled chicken with rice (with cinnamon and raisins). It was all quite tasty, a good choice!
Now I am back at the hotel and going through my notes from today, getting ready for tomorrow. On Wednesday and Thursday, I'll be able to do more 'touristy' things, visiting old Cairo and the Pyramids especially. I'll post more blogs then. :) I hope you are having a great week. As for me, I am very thankful for the warm welcome I am receiving from my Egyptian colleagues. As I often say, it is a truly a privilege to work with such wonderful people! Thank you for reading dear Sparkfriends!