Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ma'asalam ya atr

Come get us from the airport I was told and althought I did point out that it would be liking going from manchester to heathrow to pick up 3 seasoned travellers especially when am the baby of the group! But because my big sister requested ever so politely that i pick them up i went to the station and brought a ticket yesterday and when the time came today jumped on a taxi and asked him to take me to station ramleh!

we got there and I looked at him blankely. I asked why we had brought me to the tram station instead of the train station, he says, you asked for sation ramleh! Thats when it dawned on me, damn!! but i wanted station sidi gaber which is actually a train station and not a tram station, this is clearly what happens when you grown over confident!

So dispondently ask him to take me to the nearest train station and he took me to masr station, we pulled up in front of a massive non-familiar station and i jump out having paid him and ran around looking for my train, shockingly enough i missed it. Then when i tried to buy a ticket for the next train at 8pm I was informed it was full then I asked about the one at 10 and joyeously that was also full so I had to buy a ticket for first thing in the morning and sadily go home.

While I was in the taxi i had to change the rooms reservation and book a pick up from the airport so now there will inshallah be an egptian man holding up as sign with the bankers name on it instead of me (so sad) I stopped at mo'men (sandwish place) and grabbed a beautiful sandwich, which brings me to the need to rant.

Why is it that when we give in charity its always a measly amount, There is this old, frail man who stands in front of mo'men and when ever we are there we along with others give him some money but walahi it never equals what the sandwich and chips combo cost!! So feeling a little ashamed i asked him if he wanted to eat something and he look at me suprised and a little sad so i asked him to wait ( not that he was going anywhere really) and a brought two meals one for him and one for me. I gave him is bag (noticing that he his right hand was miss shapen, may allah love him) and he looked so suprised and humbled which ticked me off royally because it means he has got used to people giving him measly amounts and two it means ever so clearly that we don't love for our brothers what we love for ourselves.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


when my contact (who I met in a restaurant in cairo :)) gave me Risala's number I was under the impression it was an orphanage. Let me tell you how wrong I was, it in fact has an orphanage programme, a blind project, a deaf project, a special needs centre, a homeless programme and poverty project.I have not yet found out how it’s financed but I know the large bulk of its income in self generated through links with the community and several income generating projects such as work shop.

Its mainly staffed by volunteers and they seemed genuinely delighted that I would want to come and help. I was an instant hit with the children (mainly because I came with a 2kg box of sweets!)

My English is in demand by all the different projects and programmes, I already have 2jobs

1) Teaching English to the staff
2) Creating a database (although I havn’t done one since 1st year of uni)

I really want to do something with the orphans but they are up2 two years of age so am not sure what I can do with them other then play with them I guess. They encourage a mentoring scheme, were an adult becomes a brother or a sister to one of the baby orphans. I am not sure what that entails yet although it sounds interesting.

Iman (a beautiful woman who spoke fluent English) took me around to each department and introduce me to the project leader. I have not been hugged and kissed by so many people other then after Eid prayer and I loved every minute of it, the genuine instant affection never fails to warm my heart. The most heart wrenching moment was when Fatima a 7month old orphan was handed to me, Subhanllah she looked so000 Adorable, serene and unaware of her situation.

My mother was orphaned when her mother was 6months pregnant with her so she never met her father and then again when her mother passed away when she was 6years old. So from her stories I can guess how insecure and lonely Fatima will find this world! My mother was lucky enough to have an extended family but Fatima has no one. God I wanted to take her home, from today onwards inshallah she will become my sponsored orphan.

Oh and when I told the family I was going to be working at Risala I didn’t think it would results in anything but the banker, subhallah older sisters, there in an finite wisdom that no matter how old you become they still seem to have insight and resourcefulness that you wouldn’t even contemplate.The crazy woman sent me a text to say she has started a collection for the orphage and has collected £260 from Didsbury masjid and will be holding another appeal at the MYF before she arrives on Saturday. So far that’s 2860 Egyptian Junay what a sister!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

23rd Birthday

I turned 23 today so in order to mark the occassion i have been working on producing a personal mission statment that i can live by and here it is:

Personal mission statement

1) Always be sincere and honest with myself and my creator (including my intentions, motives and drives)
2) Know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction and ease with hardship.
Priorities my family. Aim to make my whole being an enrichment and blessing upon my parents. And my time on earth a source of comfort and unwavering support to my siblings.
3) Nurture my friendships, give without expectations, seek to understand and then be understood
4) Excel in counselling ( Person-centred approach integrated with a Islamic perspective, attain the Islamic knowledge and wisdom that this will require)
5) Sponsor an orphan/s
6) Allah loves that which is small but consistent, set up a standing order with Islamic relief.
7) Fluency in Arabic, beauty in Tilawa, Eloquence in Speech and memorisation of the Qur’an.
8) Explore Allah’s world (Frequent, responsible and earth friendly travel)
9) Learn at least one new skill a year
10) Eradicate at least one bad habit a year
11) Be debt free always.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

General update

1) I just completed my level one exam and i got ...92% YAY alhamdulilah! Level two here i come then just 8more till fluency inshallah;)

2) I have descovered the Alex club and for 25 gunay (2.50 sterling) I can go horse riding. I think i should mention at am scared of horses, well riding them at least they are such powerful creatures, capable of neck breaking speed and there is always the possibility of getting trampled on but fear shouldn't be disabling so i have decided to over come it! ( last time i rode a horse for 20mins in luxor I spent the whole time reciting Ayatul-kursi i was so scared) wish me luck, i hope they have helmets and a bit of body armier would be reassuring too.

3) I have seen the error of my ways via a flat mates current sheer disregard for keeping her space clean. At home i used to leave my dish at the sink, leave my cups of tea where ever i was at the time i finished drinking it, bring my lundary down but never actually put them in the washing machine. Never cooked and would ask who ever was in the kitchen got me a plate of food! Now that i see someone else behaving like this am rather ashamed of my own past slobbiness and have vowed never to return to that state! I am suprised my mother didn't through me out!!

4) I have heard about a ma'had that teaches islamic course in english so am going to check it out this week and i have decided if they have a woman and islam course am going to enrol,
i can live up to my feminist way, woman aren't allowed in the masjid arghhh

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Mass exodus from Alexandria

How quickly things change, subhanallah sometimes it’s almost at breath taking speed. In the space of a week the following has happened

1)Amel my flat mates in getting married (yes to an Egyptian) from Cairo and is thus leaving us this Sunday!!

2) This morning as I came back from my class and walked into our building the mother of the family who I blogged about last time told me that her and the children are leaving today, out moving permanently. I give her my telephone number here and my number and address in the UK. She tried to shake my hand as a farewell (I was thinking .. er…no that’s not how we say salam) so I dragged her into a bear hug and we both parted looking a little tearful then I had to find the kids, its sooo SAD. I really loved that family they always greeted me with a genuine smile of affection and tried to converse with me in Arabic and the kids called my name as I walked in from class (probably because they new I had chocolate for them ..but still) they made me feel at home.

3)The British girls who I met at the school from Birmingham will be returning home this Saturday too!

Now the building will lose that homely feel and our flat with be colder (literally body heat is our only source of heating) and we won’t be able to go out in a big group or go around to the British lots flat for tea!

That’s it I really need to find an Egyptian family with NO sons, lots of daughters my age, who speak fusha and want to make a foreigner feel a little bit more at home now that practically everyone I now is deserting Alexandria.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Home sick

Shukri came and left like a breeze! we had a blast and i loved having her here but it all came to a sudden end and it made me remember that there is no place like home. Its official am homesick i miss everything.

i miss my family

i miss my mums cooking

i miss my crazy friends

i miss just been around people who know me

I was having a fantastic time till shukri reminded me what i was missing! Oh and my teacher is a slave driver, she had me purchase a book for grammar,a book for verbs ( i have hit the past and command) a book for writing short stories.

Short stories, my jaw dropped i even asked her if she was joking i haven't even completed level one yet!!!!