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!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 7

Awladi is a really nice setting to grow up in, especially considering what the rest of Cairo looks like. It would be nicer if the women who care for the children would spend more time with each kid, but they appear to be a bit short of staff.

In the first class, we helped the kids complete their Arabic workbook pages (basically just copying down letters and words). It reminded me of my elementary school days and how much I hated copying down letters and words. Then, we taught them numbers in English. They know how to count to ten, but they don’t understand what it means. They have it memorized, but do not realize that “one” means “wahid” and “two” means “ithnaan.” Thankfully, the teacher in there is very nice and helpful.

In the second class, things were chaos. They actually seemed to comprehend the  meaning of the numbers because we would hold up fingers, and they could count on their fingers to figure out which number we meant. However, they did not like sitting still. In the middle of class, older girls came in to bring them snacks. The girls were fascinated with Sherin and I, so the kids got distracted. Then, we tried teaching them “head, shoulders, knees, and toes.” It worked for a bit until the teacher left the room. Then, it became “attack of the apes.” They were crawling all over. The only reason they listen to the teacher is so she won’t hit them with her ruler. We just gave up after that. I figure that at least we can give them some attention.

We went outside afterwards and played with the little little kids. Geda, the girl who attached herself to me yesterday, came and found me again. She’s legitimately the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. She just wants to be picked up and hugged, and she quietly talks in Arabic, half to me, and half to herself. She, like a lot of the little ones, likes to hold your hand up to her face, kiss the palm, and squeeze it against her cheek. Yesterday, she was sniffing my palm, and said “saboona, saboona, saboona” as she sniffed all around my hand. Then she picked up the other one and did the same thing, working her way up my arm. Halfway up my forearm, she said, “la saboona.” I had to ask Sherin, but I realized that she was saying “soap, soap, soap,” and then “no soap” once she went up my arm. It was so funny and cute! I had just washed my hands before going outside. I’m sure I’ll have lots of stories from her, because she’s my absolute favorite.

After work, we went to lunch and shop with the three other AIESEC workers. I got more points on my phone card, and I added some to the modem (however, the internet still kinda sucks). We took the metro home.

I’m getting more and more used to the metro. Near the end of the lines, the cars are nearly empty. Near the city center, it is literally like a barrel of monkeys in there. I have never been pressed so close to people in my entire life. It is hot, smelly, and uncomfortable. However, it only costs 1 pound to ride as long as you want, which beats the taxi every time!


  1. Love the soap story! Sounds like you're having a fascinating time!

  2. What a sweet little girl. I love the soap story. Has she smelled perfume?

    1. I'm not sure! Probably not, because I doubt that any of the teachers wear it!