We visited caritas Egypt yesterday morning. Finding their office was quite a challenge as it is hidden away in a very lively district, away from the main street. We have to cross a huge market and I like it. The office is not luxurious and I like that too. Simplicity means sincerity. They really care. So, a friendly woman welcomes us and tell about their work. Caritas Egypt is involved in a variety of charities.
We get a good presentation and I am glad to work with them soon. I will visit one of their projects before next monday, directly before going to the airport.
I work in the café, where they know me already.
At night I have another typical expierience. I look for a supermarket. A boy is suddenly helpful with my groceries and I smile at him. Then he takes me to an essence shop and starts chattering about how cheap his offer is. No no you don’t buy anything. Just take the tea you know it would insult us if you deny it. So I respect their culture and stay. And they keep talking, persuading me. There is no tea. I get so angry that I want to destroy the shop. The shop owner gives them a provision of course. I know how they do it. And yet, I didn’t want to be rude. So I counted to three, slowly, very slowly. When they still kept talking I made up my mind: I AM GOING TO BE RUDE RIGHT NOW. Then I say something along the lines of “screw you, you repugnant motherfuckers, ain’t no goddamn chance you rip me off” and brusquely stride out of the disastrous olfactory shop onto a crowded Cairo street, where the vociferous side effect my bad temper quickly faded away amidst the clamorous claxoning and bargaining.
Today, I go to the pyramids in the morning. An Alexandrian man in the minibus on the way there persuaded me to take a camel ride. A student from Singapore walks off when he is offered a tour to save money. I am reminded of a rule of thumb for tourists: don’t be meager, spend about the same amount of money you would back home. So I close a deal with them and jump on a camel for the equivalent of 30 euros. I enjoy that camel ride a lot, gaze at the big pyramids, and nod when my kid guide shares all his knowledge with me.
“All or this is 5000 years old, sir.”
Obviously it is a rip-off. Despite of the promise that everything was included they ask me for more and more money. They have lied to me. I get really angry and think about writing a devestating reference about their business – I decide to act otherwise though. I leave the place with a stock of touristy pictures, me and the sphinx, me and the sick camel called banana, me and the Giseh pyramids in the background.
Then the Alexandrian guy called Mudi takes me to the village Misa close by to visit a very poor family. I decide to make this my first cause here in Cairo. Why? Because I think this family could use some support. I buy shoes for the children, and give some money for food or the grandmother’s medical bill. They don’t beg, I see how they are living, drink tea with them and take a series of good photos.
The heaven is open he tells me, since it is only days before the big feast.
He has mentioned Allah a couple of times and promised me to give me back the 100 E.P. I lend him. He walked off without it. So here I go, stepping out of my cloak of forgiveness and giving it to him. Mudi from Alexandria is an asshole that should never be trusted, a despicable repugnant pig who is unworthy of even wiping another pig’s ass, a disgraceful filthy dog scavenging on other people’s goodness, and a sick stinking cockroach that deserves to burn in hell forever.
That feels good, I’m human too you know-
I feel very happy during my ride home. Yet another Charity Travel cause completed. I hope that this idea will get popular, because I still think it’s a very good idea. It’s up to you if you work more with established organizations or by yourself; both have their pros and contras.