This blog was originally designed to keep me sane as I began learning Arabic. It morphed into a blog of musings about Arabic, the Middle East, and the Islamic World, as well as book reviews about those topics. Then, the blog became a place to keep my family and friends updated on my adventures while I was living abroad. During May and June of 2012, I had a 6-week long internship in Cairo, Egypt through a international student organization called AIESEC. I taught English at the Awladi Orphanage in Cairo, home to several hundred children. I lived in an apartment in Nasr City before moving to Maadi (each is a distinct area of Cairo). I experienced President Mursi's election, camped in the western desert, rode camels by the pyramids, and had countless other experiences. I have since moved past this blog, on towards new endeavors, but if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 6


Sherin and I woke up at 7 for work. Omar picked us up at 8 and drove us down to the Maadi district (quite a long drive). Maadi is a very nice residential area with a British/ American school and lots of expatriates.
Awladi itself is tucked into the neighborhood. It has lots of trees, and large grounds. We were assigned to teach two classrooms of 5-6 year olds. The other age group is 3-4, and another group of AIESEC-ers are teaching them. We began by teaching the alphabet. They knew the alphabet song, but aren’t good at the letters. Then, we started teaching from an Animals poster on the wall, spelling out the words for Dog, Cat, Horse, etc. We followed up each work by making the sound that the Animal makes. Sherin is particularly good at making a loud, scary “rawr” (surprise, surprise, haha). They loved her to do the Lion, Tiger, and Bear noises.
There are about 16 kids in each class, so it wasn’t too out of hand. However, the kids speak no English, and the teachers speak a very minimal amount. The teachers helped us keep the kids in order, but it was hard to communicate with them sometimes. Sherin need to sit down and think about what we will teach each day. Otherwise, we have an hour to fill (in each class) and no ideas.
It isn’t a stressful job, unless you count the fact that teaching children is like herding cats. They don’t really want to pay attention, and you don’t speak their language, so they’re rather just do their thing.
The ride home was our first time commuting so far by Metro. We left Awladi in a taxi and drove a short distance to the Metro (next time, we may just walk). We bought fresh bread for lunch and rode the metro for about five minutes one way, talking about which stop we needed to get off on. Then, all of the women around us realized that we were on the wrong train (we should have been headed the opposite direction, because we were heading away from the city center instead of towards it). They were so, so kind and explained where we should go. One woman offered to take us across the walkway to the other train. We were, of course, laughing at ourselves for the stupidity (and probably would have figured it out a few minutes later), but it was nice to know that even though the women gawk at us on the Metro (among a sea of hijabs, we stick out like spare thumbs), they are extremely helpful and nice. Once we were on the right train, we had about 18 stops (45 minutes) of riding across Cairo before we were home. We then took another taxi back to the apartment. All in all, it should cost us about 10 pounds a day to make this commute (less than 2 dollars), which is really not bad at all. Unfortunately, it is a pretty long ride. Omar has offered to move us to an apartment in Maadi if we want. However, we really like our current roommates, so we are thinking about moving to Maadi once our roommates go back home (they have about two more weeks here). Maadi will be a nicer place to live, but it is not nearly as convenient to the city, so we would not be able to have the guys pick us up so often. That is a drawback, especially during the evenings when we’d rather not be using taxis (rates go up at night). Ah well, we’ll figure it out.
We have Wednesday and Thursday off because of the elections. We are leaving for a trip to Luxor and Aswan on Wednesday night. It is a long ride down there, but we’re traveling with like 20 other AIESEC-ers, and we’ll take a train. We are going to get a tour guide for the trip, just because there are so many people. Thri is taking care of accommodations and transportation. It should be really nice!
Since we have Wednesday off, we were thinking about getting up at our normal time and going to the Giza pyramids. Hopefully, we can talk one of the guys into going with us, so we get the Egyptian treatment, rather than the “special price, just for you” that is reserved for foreigners. 

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