Thursday, June 25, 2015

Clever Design Idea (04)

Originally when I started this series of clever design ideas I thought the posts would focus on great Egyptian ideas.  However, for this post, I'm going to deviate a bit and show you a great idea of my own.

I bought a long, Cairo-colored skirt.  

There were racks of different coloured skirts and I purposely chose this color because it is a very common color found in my surroundings. My thinking is that I can wear it wherever I want, sit where I want and do what I want and it always looks pretty clean.

Bonus:  Today at lunch I spilled some lunch on it and an hour later, I can't find the spot.

Welcome Watermelon

One of our coworkers returned from a month in the U.S. At his welcome back party we served a carved watermelon.  

Arthur wanted it to say "Welcome to Egypt" because that is what we so often hear in the streets. But I found "WELCOME" was hard enough to fit. 

Along the back are 3 pyramids.

(Some people in BC requested a photo.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The former Greek School

The Orthodox Church was given the former Greek School to renovate and turn into a high quality education facility in Port Said. The bishop would like us to place a volunteer here.
The government is requiring the church to renovate the school according to its original form, as it is a historical building. They have old photos to guide them in the restoration.

All the workmen wanted a photo with the bishop.

The workmen are replacing wood with metal that looks like wood, but should last much longer. These railings are an example. The ornamentation just below the roof tiles is another example of metal being used instead of the former wood.

There are 25 classrooms in the school. The church would like to keep classes down to 25 children per class, but the government would like it to be 50. This defeats the intention of quality instruction for students though. Schools are generally poor, so parents put great pressure on administration to accept their child into a good school, such as this one. We feel for them.

We too landed up in a picture with the bishop.

There is plenty of work that needs to be done before September, but everyone is confident that the school will open this fall.

The Cathedral

We stayed at the former Catholic Cathedral, which has now become the Orthodox Cathedral. All foreigners left Port Said in the 60s leaving behind their buildings. 
We had a very late lunch at the Bishop's residence and after lunch he showed us the picture of the Virgin Mary which produces oil and perfume with healing powers. The picture has been doing this for 25 years now. 

You can see the bag under the picture to catch the oil and perfume. It takes about a month to fill the bag.

Port Fouad

In the morning we took the free ferry across the Suez Canal and went to Port Fouad to see what the Orthodox Church is doing there. There is enough time to get out of the car and take pictures. This picture is taken looking onto the ferry.

From the ferry one of the most impressive buildings to be seen is the old shooting club. People would shoot clay pigeons from the verandah. Not sure what the building is being used for today.

We had breakfast overlooking the canal at St. Mark's Church. The painted ceiling is very impressive. Many scenes from the old and New Testament are depicted there.

The six days of creation are in one arch. Notice the dinosaurs. We've never seen that before.

We then visited a school and after that went to Ste. Marina to see the girl's home, old folks home, care centre for mentally challenged people, and a cheese making shop all on the same premises.

Everywhere we went we were offered cold drinks of various kinds. We had to wait for our tour guide, so had time to relax a bit.

Here is the cheese making room. They have all kinds of equipment, including devices that look like refrigerators that make yogurt. The products are sold in the church shop.

Here is some milk being strained over a sink.

On the ferry ride back the light was better for the Port Fouad side, so here is the most impressive building we left behind.

Reminders that this really is a port. It was odd to be in the same desert country we are growing accustomed to living in, yet to be beside such a large body of water.

A trip to the sea

Phyllis, Arthur, Juan, and Jamie took a Superjet bus to Port Said to check out a potential partner.
Our first outing was a walk to the beach near sunset. It was windy and cool after a long hot bus ride.

Here's Phyllis enjoying the Mediterranean Sea. The water is nice and warm.

We came on the first day of Ramadan so there were all kinds of decorations and lights all over the city. The fasting started at 5:00 am on Thursday and gets broken at sunset each evening for the month of Ramadan. The lights and decorations are new to us, as they weren't put up in Atbara when we were there for Ramadan many years ago. 

We walked along the walkway beside the Suez Canal after the beach. You can see Port Fouad across the water.

Clever Design Idea (03)

A difference of opinion.

At the landings of our building are little shelves.  

Arthur thinks they are for holding dried flower arrangements.

Phyllis thinks they are convenient resting places.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Citadel

We haven't been to the citadel in twenty five years, so on Thursday we went for a refresher. It was like we had never been there before. 

There are a number of things to see up there including two mosques, a few museums and a great view. Like most historic sites these days however, there were very few tourists. 

It was easy to get pictures without people in them as a result.


The pyramids are still there. We just checked.

This should keep them in place.

Blast from the past

This reminds Arthur of his childhood when people would decorate their bikes for Canada Day.

Mallawi, upper Egypt


We visited a number of women who are learning to read and write. We took a five hour train ride early in the morning and arrived in time for lunch. Then we went to four different locations to visit the literacy program. It is wonderful to see women being empowered. It is so life changing for them to be able to read directions on the medicine bottle, or the note from the teacher, or even the electric bill. 
Some of the ladies were at the same stage we are in reading Arabic, so we feel a special kinship with them.

Clever Design Idea (02)

This security guard moves his chair around all day so that he can remain under shade. Who knew such a trimmed tree could give so much shade? It appears that because it is so heavily pruned it gives such great shelter. Clever.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Clever Design Idea (01)

Here's where we wash and dry our dishes. 

Isn't that a clever idea to drip dry the dishes over the sink?

It is this way in most of the Egyptian homes we have visited. 

Impressive and appropriate Egyptian technology!

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Meanwhile in Winnipeg

Meanwhile in Winnipeg, Conrad is enjoying an almond coconut blueberry kale smoothie from his new blender. He is also taking some spring courses, such as Human Anatomy and Physiology. He bikes a lot and plays soccer, and tries to avoid spending money if he can help it. 

Friday, June 05, 2015

Meanwhile... today in Hanoi

Here is a photo of Erik having lunch at the office with Edward.

Erik will be in Hanoi for only one more month and then he will return to Winnipeg.

He's going to miss Edward (and his fabulous family), the MCC team, his coworkers at the publishing house and his kind and generous Vietnamese host family.  

He will join his brother at the house on the tree-lined street in Winnipeg and plans to go back to school in Fall.

Meanwhile... Last Week in Canada

My Dad celebrated his 80th birthday last week with his brothers and their wives (and a few other lucky and well-loved people).

Here they are:  Uncle Neil, Uncle Alvin and my Dad.

We were really sorry to miss the celebration!

Happy Birthday Dad

Monday, June 01, 2015

Back in Cairo

We are back to walking to work every morning. On the way we pass the same things, but it doesn't always look the same. The flamboyant trees are in bloom now, and this little tree is really outdoing itself.
The temperatures are forecast to be in the low 30s this week, which is actually pretty nice. So far the evenings are cool and pleasant.
We are back in Arabic lessons and trying to get words to stay in our memories. This used to be an easier task, but we slowly forge ahead. We're still at the stage where we can only be understood by our teacher and vice versa, but we are confident that one day we will get beyond this stage and bloom like this tree.