Saturday, May 13, 2006

True Humility

Mira has a friend at school, Jasmine, and Jasmine's mother's name is Debbie. Debbie is married to an Egyptian. Jasmine also has a brother, Karim, who is 6. Debbie's husband, Hani, works in Sharm, so almost all of their time is spent apart.

Recently, Debbie traveled with Jasmine and Karim to visit Hani in Sharm over Spring break. They seemed to have a wonderful time. Then the Dahab bombs hit the area. I was worried about Debbie, but knew that they were not in Dahab, so I knew they were ok.

When Debbie came home I talked to her on the phone and asked her how her trip was to Sharm. She said they had a wonderful time spending time with Hani and was glad to have the family together for a week. (Debbie lived in Sharm with Hani and the children were born there.)

The other evening Hani made a surprise visit to Debbie and the kids. They were all thrilled to see him, and he was certainly thrilled to see his family. Hassan, Mira and I met them at the club where the children were swimming. Debbie and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for Hassan and Hani to meet because they had never met before. We walked around the club, then went to a really good shisha bar in Rehab called "Amsterdam." Actually this had been only the second time I tried shisha, and it was really good. I took a few puffs, and that was it for me.

As the four of us were talking about Sharm and smoking shisha, and Hani was showing us a video of his "coffee shop" -- a rather large and beautiful one at that, Debbie casually mentioned that they went to the Sharm hospital the night of the bombings to assist the doctors. (Debbie is a dental hygenist, so she has a lot of medical training.)

Debbie described how the victims of the bombings were from all walks of life, and how it didn't matter if one was Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. She described how children and adults had burns all over their bodies, and she cleaned the patients, then delicately put burn cream on their charred skin to ease their pain. Remember, this was all said in a very casual fashion.

Hassan and I were in awe not just of Debbie's courage to assist those who had burns showing their knees, but moreover of her humility in not mentioning it before. She had never made mention her experience before about how they volunteered at the hospital, how they assisted the patients and doctors, or how they overcame language barriers to reach a common goal of helping their fellow human beings.

It just goes to show that in a crisis, people help out however they can -- sharing the gifts they have been given.



Saturday, May 06, 2006


My Dad is home as of this posting. I called him a few days ago, and although we only spoke for a few minutes, I wanted him to know that we are all praying for him and his recovery. It was very emotional for both of us.

My colleague is recovering. She is at home and had surgery to remove the shrapnel that hit her during the bombing. I don't know when she will return, but it may not be for a couple of more weeks and we only have 4 more weeks of school (thank goodness).

I returned to work this past week after Spring Break and felt re-charged. But even though it was only a 3 day week, I went home on Thursday night (our Friday in Egypt) completely exhausted. I have no energy and seem to be missing the time I spend with Hassan. Contract renegotiations are supposed to begin in the next two weeks -- we will see . . .

Hassan, Mira and I went out with Aunt Olfat on Thursday night for dinner. Security is very tight around all of Egypt, but especially around military installations. We went to a military club where we ate dinner -- good food at a decent price.



Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sometimes lifes throws us a curve ball . . .

I was enjoying my Spring break from school until I read an email from my stepmom (my stepmom is great by the way:)). It was Sunday morning and I was scrolling through Yahoo when I saw a message saying "Joe is in the hospital." Oh my gosh, my dad is in the hospital.

I tried calling my stepmom, and one of my sisters, but couldn't get any information; I knew they were probably at the hospital. I eventually received emails from my stepmom. In the meantime, as well, I called my one sister after she messaged me on the mobile (mobiles are great) and she informed me that Dad is still in the hospital in stable condition. Alhamdulillah.

I felt helpless and very isolated. The physical separation from my family just got an ocean wider.

Alhamdulillah as of this posting my Dad is on the mend and he hopes to be home in a day or so. As soon as the doctor gave the OK, my stepmom made sure my dad was up and walking around the hallways in the hospital. My stepmom and dad are very active individuals who live healthy lifestyles (there's a lot to be said for eating healthy and exercising).

Insha'Allah he will continue to get better.

As I returned to school today with my dad and stepmom on my mind, in my heart, and in my prayers, I noticed that my colleague with whom I share an office was absent. I asked the principal where she was and if she called in. The principal said "Didn't you hear it in the morning staff meeting?" (I didn't because I was busy printing out documents for staff.) "She was injured in the Dahab bombings." What!? Not only was she injured, and requested some time off from school - I mean who wouldn't, but one of her friends was killed by the bombs. This is just getting too much for me to hear. I then found out that a teacher she traveled with was OK, but isn't talking about it.

I'm sure we've all thought that tragedies don't take place in our cities, towns, countries, etc. But this time it hit home. Senseless acts of terrorism are not reported or reported incorrectly, and this was one more act of terrorism, by whomever it may be, will never be forgotten.

Everytime I read a story about illness, terrorism, or destruction, I will think of those who suffer and try to place myself in their situation even if just for a brief
moment. And then I will say a prayer for their safety and well-being.