I'd like to share with you an email that i received from a friend of mine who is still in Cairo.
She is an American married to an Egyptian.
This amazing thing is happening here in New Maadi today. There are tons of young kids like college or HS kids out on he street cleaning up. The place is getting so clean! It is amazing. They really want to make a NEW EGYPT and it brings tears to my eyes to see all the youth out there working together. I stopped and gave bottles of water to some of the kids and they were so thankful and kind. They spoke English and seem educated and really wanting a CHANGE to happen here. One had a paper that she was handing out to people and it was written in English and Arabic. They were passing them out to all the cars passing by. Of course I read the English version!!! Here is what the paper said:
Egypt is calling everyone for help!!!
Buy Egyptian Products.
Drive with good manners
Be nice and smile =)
Spend your vacation in Egypt.
Convince non-Egyptians to spend holidays in Egypt.
Keep streets CLEAN! Don’t throw rubbish in the streets.
Open a brokerage account and buy local share in the stock.
Donate blood and unwanted stuff.
Vote in September!! Every vote counts
No More bribes or cheating in our beloved Egypt!
If you see someone doing something wrong, try to politely talk to them.
If you see any corruption, stand up against it and call 16117
LOVE EGYPT AT ALL TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!IT’S YOUR HOME!!
ISN’T THAT COOL THAT THE YOUTH ARE MAKING A STATEMENT LIKE THAT AND REALLY PUTTING ACTION BEHIND THEIR HOPES AND DREAMS.
The streets over by my house and between here and the school is where I saw all those kids cleaning. The bags of garbage were piled high and the places they were sweeping or picking up garbage and the areas next to the streets were all nice and clean. It was great. I hope it will continue and that people will keep up the desire to make Egypt a better and cleaner place to live. It really is a wonderful country filled with lovely people.
I woke up with Danny telling me he was heading in to Downtown
whilst it was still quiet to pick up some things for a couple of nights,
as he too hadn't brought much with him,
and did he want him to pick up something from my apartment also?
I decided to go along with him.
It was eerily quiet on the streets,
make shift barricades had popped up over night,
street patrols had come into order.
Every man you saw walking around was carrying a stick or make-shift weapon of some sort.
I told Danny we needed to pick up some lead piping or a
candlestick holder or something for protection,
he reminded me that we weren't playing Cluedo.
Dannys' apartment was right in the thick of things.
His apartment is opposite the Ministry of Interior where a lot of the major gun-fighting
had been going on. To get to his front door we had to convince 2 different
tank barricades that he lived there.
The street in front of his door was littered with police uniforms,
hats, trousers, shoes, shirts, body armour,
that had been abandoned or ripped off of them....
i dont know which.
I picked up a couple of items as a memento.
His flatmate was home, having returned from his
holiday in the States the previous night.
He told us how on finally getting a taxi to bring him nearby he had had to run
down the street to his house through a midst of gun-fire.
His night been far more dramatic than ours, with gunfights happening in his stairwell and whatnot. I could tell Danny was bummed at having missed out on the action. I on the other hand was anxious to get back to Maadi before anything started up again.
My street was fairly quiet and my apartment just as i had left it....
I contemplated what i should take
I took some money, my laptop, clean underwear, a change of clothes and my scriptures. Everything else just looked like material possessions.
Life in my neighbourhood was carrying on as normal.
The fruit and veg market was up and functioning and people were not buying at any desperate rates. There was of course the odd looted shop and savaged police uniforms lying around, and off course the tanks that were stationed on each corner.
In Maadi we stopped and visited some friends before
heading back to the Davies. Most of them had now begun the process of evacuating.
Later that evening i received a phonecall from some of my friends from work.
They were in a state of hysteria.
They had fled to the airport and were desperately trying to get a flight out of the country, they were begging me to come along. It was at this point that i realised how calm my experience
had been, not because mine had been less dramatic than theirs,
it was more to do with the company i had been keeping.
We hadn't let ourselves get stressed out,
we had been making the experience relaxed and occasionally slightly fun for each other.
Later that evening i received a phonecall from Captain Tim.
He had been away snowboarding and hadn't quite been following what was going on.....geee...thanks for the concern.
At any rate, he got concerned when our call was interrupted by a round of gunfire (which had begun to be a bit like background noise to us now)
He said he wanted to get me a ticket to leave.
I wasn't sure....i want in the desperate panic to get out of the country that others were in.
But in the end i decided that it was best, seeing as i didnt have any work on at the moment, what with the Opera house having been closed, and my Director letting the dancers know that our contracts would not be jeopardised by our leaving seeing as the Embassies were now beginning to evacuate.
After a nights sleep that was interrupted with intervals of
gun fire and tanks driving past the house,
I woke up anxious to get to my apartment in the
Downtown area to pick up some belongings.
The phones were back on, on a semi-limited basis...
in that occasionally you could make calls
I spoke to a few friends to check that they were okay.
I decided against going into my apartment to pick up some things,
instead my friend Danny who was coming in from Downtown to stay the night at the Davies also (mainly he declares because he was bored by himself, not through any sort of fear)
offered to stop by at my apartment to see if he could pick somethings up for me, although it turned out that none of my room mates were home also having left to stay in friends apartments outside of the centre.
The day continued very much similar to the previous one,
huddled around the tv.
The scariest part was when the looting began.
This was going on in the area in which i was staying,
mainly i presume as it was one of the wealthier areas.
It was the point when i felt most fearful, until then i had been safe in my little cocoon, but here were people going into ordinary homes and taking what they wanted.
At one point we heard shouts on the street outside our door,
we turned off our lights and stayed very still....
later on we realised the action outside our door was the Bowabs
(every house in Egypt has a doorman called a Bowab)
getting together to organise themselves to protect the street.
And i know that this is going to sound very dull,
but at the moment was the most unsafe that i felt during the whole 'ordeal'
and to be honest i wasnt unsafe at all!
The highlight of the day was when a friend of ours called us form the States.
She had been an exchange student here in Cairo and had just left.
It was our first phonecall from outside the country.