I update my Facebook page much more regularly and have now included a feed from there (via Twitter) at the top of the right hand column so if you are not on FB you can see, and also you can follow via Twitter if you prefer (follow me button below the feed).

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Scroll to the BOTTOM of the RIGHT HAND SIDE BAR to get to the LABELS to help you find posts.

Visit the RIGHT HAND SIDE BAR for the following menu items which posts are grouped into (not entirely up to date!)

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Bringing Pets to Cairo
Women in Egypt


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Wednesday, 23 April 2008

My Women of Egypt Project

I have started a database to record Egyptian women in positions of authority, artists, politicians, academics, sports to give a positive collection of information in one place.

I have created the list so that anyone may ADD to it. Please try not to make a mistake as you cannot EDIT it. If you do muck it up, add a correct new entry and I will review the list now and then to try and pick up errors. Eventually I will add an email address specially for you to notify me of errors to be corrected.

Women of Egypt Database Project

Click this link above to get to the database.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

A little bit of heaven in the middle of Cairo

Yesterday, I had a Cairo sandwich.

I had a lovely day out yesterday, experiencing two contrasting Cairos - a lovely, quiet, peaceful Cairo sandwiched between the big, brash, noisy Cairo.

I set off after lunch, making my way via microbus - squashed into a tiny seat with my face pressed against the door, and metro to Tahrir where a friend and her children met me in her car. She drove me out to the northern outskirts - Shubra area - where I met her family and in-laws who made me very welcome.

We took the ferry across to one of the islands in the Nile - lying to the north of Zamalek. It was beautiful, very green, peaceful, clear air - growing wheat, bananas etc, quite reminiscent of some of the areas around Luxor.

Mats were spread on the ground, the men lounging in their galibayas, and some more women - some family, some friends - came over on the next ferry with big trays of food balanced on their heads and we had picnic there, with children running about, people peacefully gossiping.

Then we went for a walk between the fields. Returning to the picnic area, a big commotion was heard and a crowd of people had come off the ferry with a young man dressed in a suit - an engagement party. There were drinks, a suitcase, food all balanced on people's heads.

They made their way to the other side of the island.

A handful of us went on a small motor boat for a short trip up the Nile - under the Ring Road Bridge and watched the sunset, then came back to the island.

When we came back, the children all started playing a game which seems to be something like 1,2,3,4,BOOM, 6,7,8,9 BOOM. Then all the women started playing it as well. I didn't get the game at first and thought it was a bit like 'Mornington Crescent' - a wierd game you get on Radio 4 in the UK.

The atmosphere was wonderful. Such a peaceful, green, rural, place, right here in the middle of Cairo.

We left and returned to her home for mashy and rice. Then she drove me back to Tahrir and I wended my way home via a very crowded, and that time of night after a long hot day quite smelly metro and bus, getting home after midnight.

What a beautiful, peaceful day and what a lovely family.

Edit: 4/5/2008 - just came across this tours website - check out tour 12 - Geziret el Dahab (Gold Island) - I think its the same island - amazing - they refer to it as 'a slice of heaven in the middle of Cairo' almost my words exactly - its so true - it really does strike you like that!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

A fab blog about Egypt I just came across

I just came across a great blog about Cairo:

Guest of Cairo

This young woman (23) is a Fulbright scholar here in Cairo and she is researching into
"the role of women in political and civic leadership here in Egypt. Whether acting as judges, activists, NGO directors, MPs, or economic powerhouses, I am curious how Egyptian women influence their society."

Something I am very keen to do - and have been doing in a very minor way on a forum I post on is find positive strong images of Egyptian women. Well, this girl is doing it!

Rock on!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Funerals in Cairo

A question concerning my friends out here is what to do with me in the event of my demise.

On the assumption that I don't have an insurance policy that covers repatriation of my body to the UK, and on the assumption that my family in the UK won't want to fork out the necessary (cost to be entered when I find out what it is - something like $13000 - $20000 is what I have been able to gather), and following an incident where I got sucked into a pile of quicksand not far from the pyramids... the subject arose in conversation.

My closest friends here are all muslim - I don't know what I am - probably default Anglican Christian until I've pondered it all out - and out here, families tend to have a family plot, and burials normally take place within 24 hours of death.

So, anyway, my good friend did some ferreting out for me and here's what she found out in relation to 6th October City, Giza (where I live) ...

Went to the cemetery today as we were passing and asked about Non Moslem burials.
This is what we found out.

6th October Cemetery has a christian area right up at the very back.

If a Christian dies here and they have no plot as such, they can buy one for around 40000le. This is the average price for a family plot ( like little house) which houses about 10 members of the family.
They are built differently to moslem ones.

The typical family one is a little building with an entrance and gate up some starirs which leads 2 ways to a street level basement although it is on ground level if you understand. To the side of the steps going up to the gate are 2 little metal 2 foot square doors with crosses on them and a padlock. The dead person can either go through one of these doors to the cell structure, or up the stairs and then go inside and walk back down stairs to ground level to the cell.
Christians are buried in their own wooden coffin and they remain there. This coffin is laid on the sand ( not under it) alongside any other family members, the door locked and left there. Over time as it it gets crowded the bones are scooped up and the rotted coffins are burned and the bones are all put together into a new coffin and the floor cleared to make way for other members.

There are also little church type structures that ONLY house the bodies of priests in the same format.

There are also little church type houses that are owned by the different types of churches and they are used by the church to bury 'poor' members who have no plot. To go there you HAVE to be a member of that particular denomination.

There are then little structures they call eyes!!, this is what the man said??

These are around 12000le to buy. These are for individual Christian burials. Bit like a plot in a western cemetery but in a little brick house type of affair.

All of them need to be allowed to bury a death certificate from the hospital and another certificate from the Health Dept?? we deduced this was the 6th october Government office where you register everything etc....

If you are Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, Baptist whatever you will be housed in their own church type one if you have none of your own and are poor, but must be known to the church.

Not sure about buying them? Maybe have to pay cash or a mortgage type affair? Didnt find that bit out sorry.


Anyway, a couple of us living out here without families have briefly discussed the idea of buying a plot between us...

I have also been informed that there is a foreigner cemetery somewhere in Cairo.


And by the by - if you are a foreign woman (esp Non Muslim) married to a Muslim man then you need to be very clear on the inheritance laws which operate out here in the event of his demise, especially if you don't have the full marriage but an orfi or the other one 'missing a stamp'. Shan't blog them as I'm not in full knowledge of them, but you need to check it out!

More about pets to Cairo

I just came across this blog about pets travelling to Cairo.

Pet Relocation

Here's the link back to my original blog on the subject..

Bringing Cats to Cairo

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Women of Egypt - Positive Images

I'm interested in positive images of women in Egypt, so I have decided to start a list of any that I come across.
I'm starting today on 20th April but have backdated the post to 1st April so it doesn't 'butt in' to other stuff.

Artists, Writers, Performers, Theatre

Anna Boghiguian: Artist: article in Al Ahram about her and she's opening an exhibition at Safar Khan Gallery on Zamalek this week.

Nora Amin: Writer, Performer and Theatre Director: Some information about her

EDIT: I started a proper database project now:

My Women of Egypt Database Project
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