November 30. Caritas Egypt.

In the morning, after a good Egyptian breakfast, we visit Caritas Egypt as planned, and I ask a few questions about a center they are running in a more modest neighbourhood of the city. It sounds like they are doing real good work there so I decide to focus more on it and shortly after, we’re on our way to the  caritas center in Mataraya. The director of the center is willing to guide us around, and shows us the different activities and services. Today is the last day of the festival so there aren’t many people around. The atmosphere is good though and we get a nice insight in the role of caritas in this community.
First, we see a group of women sewing and smiling. They are making patchworked Christmas tableclothes. It’s one of the programs the center is offering in the field of adult education. In a second room we are introduced to two mothers who are here with  their mentally disabled children. The children learn how to write and handle daily tasks in a coordinated manner, and their parents learn how to deal with their kids when they are at home with them.

We are also shown the clinic, that offers all basic healthcare services for free to the very poor, and for only seven pounds for others. Social workers assess the level of poverty by home visits. The clinic has won a prize for its level of hygiene.
We continue to see the workplace where professional craftsmen manifacture artificial limbs. They are glad to show us their work.

After work, Mohammed kindly brings me to the airport where I work on my writings while waiting for my 23.25 plane to Nairobi. There are long hours to kill, but I manage to do that successfully and update my internet presence from an overpriced coffee place after security.

November 30. Caritas Egypt. was originally published on Meandering home

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