Published: June 23rd 2009June 23rd 2009
Life in Egypt is unpredictable. The best laid plans will be set aside because of something that happens that is entirely out of your control. Often you hear people say, "in sha'Allah!" (God willing!) Which is often a way for people to say -- we can hope, but ultimately life is out of our control.
Case in point. Saturday afternoon we had scheduled an afternoon pool party for the students and teachers in the summer course. We traveled by bus and car to a facility in Cairo. (I described a pool party at the same location last year.) Abuna Michael, my colleague and friend, managed to get me out of the overcrowded and unairconditioned bus to travel to the pool in an air conditioned car. (Yes I owe him, he reminds me every day!) But half-way to our destination we got a call from the bus. The bus had died in the middle of a 4-6 lane Cairo road with cars speeding past it on both sides. Those on the bus described the chaos that ensued with 10 seminarians trying to push the bus (through the speeding traffic) to the side of the road with cars veering past on either side. Realizing that this was impossible to do with a bus full of people, the 25 or so people on the bus got off and chanced their way through the same speeding traffic to get to the side of the road. The seminarians then managed to push the bus to the roadside.
My car returned to pick up the other women in the group, while the students waited by the roadside before setting out to the pool by a 30-minute minibus ride and a 3/4 mile walk through sand and debris. They finally arrived late, but never more appreciative of the cool water on a hot day.
This is life in Egypt -- things like this happen every day. Witnessing it and experiencing it makes me appreciative for the relative predictability of my own daily life and ever-amazed at the good nature and good humor with which my friends endure the trials of their daily life.
On Saturday evening we will enjoy a falucca ride on the Nile -- in sha'Allah!