Misa village

Poor family in Misa Village, Cairo

The Misa Village is within sight of the Pyramids, yet poverty is ubiquitous here.

We decide to support one family on the eve of an important religious celebration and by shoes for the children.

Name family in Misa village near Giza
Aim To allow a destitute muslim family to celebrate their festival in dignity
Since 2005
Staff individual
People reached grandmother living with her daughter and four grandchildren
Contact take a bus to the Misa village before or after visiting the pyramids
Donation 600 EP (USD)

A visitor from Alexandria who wears sunglasses and tells me today is a good day for charitable giving since the heaven is open (it is the eve of the Islamic sacrifice festival) takes me from the Pyramids of Giza to the village of Misa. He knows his way through the muddy narrow streets to the very modest dwelling of a family of only women. I follow him to this family and have a look around. The grandmother, head of the family, is sitting outside, her back leaning against the rough wall of the alleyway. She is wrapped in a black cloth, yet her wrinkled old face with the dark eyes is visible. Inside, I see her daughter who is living with her after the death of her husband, and her children running around barefoot.

So much wisdom…

I decide to support this family, and ask what they could use. Shoes, they answer in unison, shoes for the children would be nice, and meat for the festival. Okay. In spite of my habit not to just give alms I agree and supply them what they need to celebrate in dignity.

We walk to the shop and buy six pairs of kid’s shoes, documenting the purchase with my camera. The shop owner is a smiling big man who writes an impromptu receipt for the shoes on a page of my notebook. We head back and I discreetly hand over the rest of the money to the grandmother. I take some more photographs to give an impression of their living condition: a small, barely furnished dark room with an old stove in the back, a modest bedroom with some carpets on the floor
Grandmother, whose husband passed away a few years ago, dragged herself inside and started to prepare tea. She can’t stand up because of a “knee problem”. I take it she has arthritis and tell them that my donation is either for her medical treatment or for the preparations of the festival. That is their idea too.

They invite me to celebrate the festival with them and that touches me. I have to move on though, there is a lot more to do for Charity Travel.

Misa village was originally published on Meandering home

November 24. Pondering possibilities in Cairo

An easy day in the café, updating and promoting my internet presence. It seems to take off now. Looking for Charity and Travel on google gets you to my website. I have to spend long hours behind the machine now in order to be seen. Shouting like a rough salesman on a fish market buy my trout buy my eels go ahead and spin my wheels.

November 24. Pondering possibilities in Cairo was originally published on Meandering home

November 24. Pondering possibilities in Cairo

An easy day in the café, updating and promoting my internet presence. It seems to take off now. Looking for Charity and Travel on google gets you to my website. I have to spend long hours behind the machine now in order to be seen. Shouting like a rough salesman on a fish market buy my trout buy my eels go ahead and spin my wheels.

November 24. Pondering possibilities in Cairo

An easy day in the café, updating and promoting my internet presence. It seems to take off now. Looking for Charity and Travel on google gets you to my website. I have to spend long hours behind the machine now in order to be seen. Shouting like a rough salesman on a fish market buy my trout buy my eels go ahead and spin my wheels.

November 23. Gaza.

Mohammed wakes me up at six, and I go to the bus with a disconcerting feeling of insecurity. Will I get into Gaza? Will I be searched? Questioned? Will I get stuck in Gaza? Hit by an Israeli bomb or bullet? I cannot risk too much since the success of my journey is strictly dependent on my surviving it – I want to make it to that tv show where I can tell other potential travelers about this.
Thus pondering the bus crosses the Sinai once again and takes me to Ariche, where I convince wondering taxi drivers that I really want to go to Rafah, and on to the border crossing with the Gaza strip.

So I arrive at the gate and a tactless officer eloquently elaborates the state of this border crossing: “closet closet”. Of course, what did I expect? Do I want to be persistent and wait a few days here, possibly without result, or to I chose getting back to Cairo and take on my causes there? I decide to do the latter, and turn my back on the border guards. I meet a young family from the US, that want to enter the Gaza strip for a family visit. It has been seven years since I saw them the last time, the father tells me. His father died in that period and he couldn’t go to the funeral. Now they have paid a lot of money and made an arrangement. I ask them to take pictures for Charity Travel and give them my card so they can send them to me by email. That way, I might be able to publish some footage from Gaza on my website. I take a photograph of a traditional Palestinian couple waiting at the gate, walk to the gate myself and put my hand on it, just like I had done at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. “I am sorry” I say, “but I will be back. I will not forget the people of Gaza and will do what lies within my power to support you.” I feel very sincere and all ritualizing my failed attempt to enter Gaza.

I am shocked by the inhumane situation here. When I think about the January 2009 war, the bulldozers, the settlements, the restrictions, the torture, the human tragedy, all inflicted on harmless Palestinian people who just want to live, I feel tempted to say something I perhaps should not say. “Who are those pigs that cause all this suffering?”

On the way back the taxi driver [on-site ad: buy a taxi-driver DVD now starring Robert the Niro] offers me a cigarette and I accept, I reckon its lethality is nowhere near that of Israeli shrapnel or teargas grenades. I feel gooood even though I didn’t complete my mission in Gaza. I hope other travelers will be bolder and braver and venture into the strip, opening it to the world community whose task it is to pour critique into the holy land stronger than the Israeli lead [disambiguate ‘lead’].

Back in Cairo I dream of that young woman from Gaza who had to pay 1000$ to crawl to Egypt through the dangerous tunnel in order to buy her wedding dress. She had to pay another 1000$ to get back to the Gaza strip to make it to her wedding. What is the name of the motherfucker leading this abhorrently inhumane nation again?

November 23. Gaza.

Mohammed wakes me up at six, and I go to the bus with a disconcerting feeling of insecurity. Will I get into Gaza? Will I be searched? Questioned? Will I get stuck in Gaza? Hit by an Israeli bomb or bullet? I cannot risk too much since the success of my journey is strictly dependent on my surviving it – I want to make it to that tv show where I can tell other potential travelers about this.
Thus pondering the bus crosses the Sinai once again and takes me to Ariche, where I convince wondering taxi drivers that I really want to go to Rafah, and on to the border crossing with the Gaza strip.

So I arrive at the gate and a tactless officer eloquently elaborates the state of this border crossing: “closet closet”. Of course, what did I expect? Do I want to be persistent and wait a few days here, possibly without result, or to I chose getting back to Cairo and take on my causes there? I decide to do the latter, and turn my back on the border guards. I meet a young family from the US, that want to enter the Gaza strip for a family visit. It has been seven years since I saw them the last time, the father tells me. His father died in that period and he couldn’t go to the funeral. Now they have paid a lot of money and made an arrangement. I ask them to take pictures for Charity Travel and give them my card so they can send them to me by email. That way, I might be able to publish some footage from Gaza on my website. I take a photograph of a traditional Palestinian couple waiting at the gate, walk to the gate myself and put my hand on it, just like I had done at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. “I am sorry” I say, “but I will be back. I will not forget the people of Gaza and will do what lies within my power to support you.” I feel very sincere and all ritualizing my failed attempt to enter Gaza.

I am shocked by the inhumane situation here. When I think about the January 2009 war, the bulldozers, the settlements, the restrictions, the torture, the human tragedy, all inflicted on harmless Palestinian people who just want to live, I feel tempted to say something I perhaps should not say. “Who are those pigs that cause all this suffering?”

On the way back the taxi driver [on-site ad: buy a taxi-driver DVD now starring Robert the Niro] offers me a cigarette and I accept, I reckon its lethality is nowhere near that of Israeli shrapnel or teargas grenades. I feel gooood even though I didn’t complete my mission in Gaza. I hope other travelers will be bolder and braver and venture into the strip, opening it to the world community whose task it is to pour critique into the holy land stronger than the Israeli lead [disambiguate ‘lead’].

Back in Cairo I dream of that young woman from Gaza who had to pay 1000$ to crawl to Egypt through the dangerous tunnel in order to buy her wedding dress. She had to pay another 1000$ to get back to the Gaza strip to make it to her wedding. What is the name of the motherfucker leading this abhorrently inhumane nation again?