Thursday, November 27, 2014

Christmas Craft and Bake Sale

We didn't get quite as many baked goods donated this year as we have had in the past, but we still had a worthwhile selection. A big thank you to all the folks that donated to the cause.It was very busy from 9:30 am until noon and then things tapered off until closing time at 4:00 pm. I sat at a donation table and accepted donations for projects in our Christmas giving catalogue and proceeds from baking and crafts went towards kit supplies. All together we raised over twelve thousand dollars. Not bad for a day's work.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In Winnipeg again

This was the first thing we saw when we looked out of our bedroom window this morning.

Our journey home began with a full day of meeting people and an evening of supper and packing with a bit of debriefing. Our taxi came at 12:30 am, so there wasn't any sleeping ahead of time.  Getting checked in and through security at the airport took a while, so there wasn't any chance to sleep until after take off at 4:00 am. We dozed a bit on the plane and then some more in the airport at Istanbul. 
We had an 11 hour flight from Istanbul to Toronto which wasn't as bad as we thought it would be.  In Toronto with going through immigration and customs we didn't even have that much time to do nothing.  We slept from Toronto to Winnipeg, and were greeted by Mom and Dad with our parkas on arrival. 
We managed to stay up till 10:30 pm to talk to Conrad and finally got a good night's sleep.  No roosters crowing, no dogs barking, babies crying, phones ringing, cars honking, calls to prayer or fireworks to wake us up.

Convenient shopping

Every apartment is equipped with a basket on a rope.  You lower your money with it, the vendor fills it with your order, and then you haul it back up.  This helps you avoid the 88 steps times two (in the case of our guest flat) you would otherwise have to do in order to do your shopping face to face.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Beni Suef or Swaif or numerous other spellings

We drove south into the desert to Beni Seuf today.  It is vast and barren near the highway. 

Eventually we got to the Nile. 

They say that if you drink from the water of the Nile you will return.  Seventeen years ago we drank from the Nile, and here we are again. We do plan to return.

Old and new

In a city full of cell phones and cars it is interesting to see an old horse which pulls new vegetables through the busy streets. Cairo delivers everything to your door if you know what to listen for or the right number to call.

Here is the horse waiting on the sidewalk in the shade.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Evangelical Coptic Theological Seminary

The seminary is celebrating its 150th anniversary.  They had a service at the cathedral tonight attended by many dignitaries and broadcast on a number of tv channels.  Arthur had to buy a shirt and tie to attend.  It was a very long program in Arabic, but we were given headsets to listen to a translator who must have been worn out after three hours of translating. 

Khan El Khalili

Linda took us to her favourite shops in the market.  The first one sells hand appliqued wall hangings. Tarik must have shown us 50 or so gorgeous pieces of art.

We also were taken to meet the coppersmith brothers who served us tea.

Our last stop was a cafe that sells a cross between pizza and phylo pastry. I'm not sure we will find these places again, but we will try.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pope sighted

We saw Pope Tawdros of the Coptic Orthodox Church today. We didn't get to meet him. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


One of our partners is the Coptic church, which has a centre north of Cairo.  It is a combo training centre, retreat centre, agriculture experimentation centre and artisan centre. The rugs you see were all woven here.

There are a lot of pools and trees on site.

There are stairs onto the roof of the very Bethlehem looking guest rooms.

This is a great place to go to get away from the hubbub of the city.  We have two SALTers placed here.

IKEA in Cairo

They're everywhere (IKEA that is) and this catalogue was sitting at the office.

There are about 8 Egyptian pounds per Canadian dollar, so the big cupboard at 6625 LE would be about $828 CD. Not student furniture.

Friday, November 07, 2014

You say "Potato" and I say...

...something you don't recognize!

It turns out there is quite a difference between Sudanese Colloquial Arabic and the Egyptian Arabic spoken in Cairo.

We thought we would be OK using the limited Arabic we learned 20 years ago in Sudan but that is not the case. We've forgotten a lot, to be sure, but there is a lot we remember too and we were excited to start using it again.

It has been a bit of shock to learn that while most of the consonants are consistent with what we remember, a lot of the vowel sounds are different. So, the other day, when we were at the take-out counter of a restaurant ordering water we were stunned to see that the proprietor very obviously didn't understand us. Water! Moya! (This was Conrad's first word in any language. We all know how to say it.) After the panic and the deer-in-the-headlights look, we asked our friend who came with us and we learned that it is pronounced "mya".

All is not lost. There is still a lot that we DO know and quite a bit that we understand, but this whole vowel thing is going to drive us crazy before too long!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Wake up call

This guy has been shortening our nights. It seems that balcony chicken coops are common here, so he isn't the only rooster responsible for the interruptions. I guess he guards the laundry as a side job.

Walking to the office

We are no longer being chauffeured to and from the office.  We were given a guided walk one way, and are now on our own walking there and back. The streets aren't as busy as I thought they might be, but it takes a bit of nerve to cross nonetheless. Phyllis is posing with our guide. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Streets of the burbs

This building is very typical.

You can see how 15 million people can live in such a small area.  High density housing abounds. 

They have as many mosques in Cairo as temples in Vientiane. Every small neighbourhood has one.

Jesus was here

It's interesting to see how this story is depicted on papyrus.  

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Supper at the rep flat

Brenna, Spencer, Katie, Peter, Jane, Jaime, Juan and Ayman in front.  These are some of the people we will be spending time with in the future.  We will be replacing Peter and Jane.

Our future home

Jane and Peter posing in front of the building.  The flat is on the fourth floor with the fancy white windows up to the right of the picture. 

This is the first thing you see when you walk in.  The electric piano is on its way to a music school, so it won't be there when you come to visit.

There are two bedrooms and a den. This is the master bedroom with doors to the balcony.

The view from the balcony.  It looks like a nice place to live.

Off to Egypt

All of our luggage managed to make the same three flights we took to get to Cairo. 

We had a five hour layover in Frankfurt.  The fog was very thick, so we didn't have much of a view of our surroundings.