Yellow Paint and Gasoline

So every Tuesday all 24 of the students involved in MESP go to different service project sites around Cairo. Yesterday my first day at the Good Samiritan in Moquttum hills. Moquttum is a district of Cairo were the government placed impoverished victims of the earthquake that hit Cairo in ’93. The Good Samaritan serves as a conference center, orphange, and preschool…its a very well run place. We began our day with some cleaning and the Egyptians were practically rollng on the floor laughing at the way we were cleaning. They were also bewildered by the fact that I don’t speak Arabic. “Khalas?” (or nothing) they ask. “Khalas” I reply. Its frustrating that I blend in so well until I open my mouth, but I am begining to remember a few things. Of course my accent is heinous to an Egyptian ear. After our cleaning exploits we were sent to paint some doors yellow. I have never experienced paint quite like this (definetly not TU ETC quality) It was all thick an sticky and my hands were soon covered in flourescent goop. When I was finished with my door the director of the project, Nabil, walked in with a can of gasoline that he proceeded to pour over my hands to clean them. I don’t recall ever being quite that flammable before. So cross it off the list of things I’ve never done. Washing hands in gasoline–check. The kids in the preschool are on vacation, but when they come back I thing we’ll be doing some teaching English which I’m looking forward to.

Tomorrow is the Ieedes. Comprable to Christmas in Islam…apparently the streets will run with blood as an animal sacrifice is invovled…we’ll see how that goes for me.



Filed under the middle east

3 responses to “Yellow Paint and Gasoline

  1. Anonymous

    Painting yellow doors…mmm…whats that Revlon makeup commercial about doors being red? Maybe its the Egyptian way of doing things. Gasoline. Bet that tasted good when you bit your nails…maybe I should try that! The service project you did was refreshing for you, I’m sure. I think I know how you feel about being a “native” but not speaking…I feel that way when I go to Cuba. Update on my health also-I am most likely lactose intolerant, but I will know more by the end of the week. The statistics about that are that 50% of Americans are L.I. and half of that are African American. I knew it, I am an African…true at heart.
    I miss you. I am praying for you and the language barrier…I know God will give you the words to say and actions to share his love. I think about you every hour. -J. DeGeyter

  2. Nawal Ghali

    Hi Marcia May,
    You are so funny. I love to read your writing. By the way the name of their feast starts with the letter ‘ayn’ as written on your list of Egyptian alphabet. I cant wait until you start Arabic and start practicing the language with the locals. I wish I was a fly on the wall living this experience with you. I am so excited that you are enjoying your experience so far. Love you forever, Love you for always as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

  3. Anonymous

    Oh, disregard my confused email about the gasoline. It all makes sense now. I’m glad you guys didn’t take a smoke break during your service project- that would have been a bad idea.
    I’m sure there are going to be plenty of things you can cross of your list of things you’ve never done by the end of this semester.
    Keep the stories rollin’, my friend.

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