Walking to Al-Kayan (one of the NGOs we will be working with throughout our stay in Egypt) I was at the head of our line chatting with Ustaadhe Lo and Ryan. The conversation started with the topic of directions- getting to know our way through Cairo and memorizing our routes to the different NGOs we’ll be interacting with. “You know where we are emba?” says Lo (emba is how he pronounces my name in Arabic). “Yes we were on shariiyah (street) Sudan then turned left then went straight…I’m watching!”
In a quick second our conversation about navigating through the streets of Cairo turned into a conversation about navigating through life. This is always how it is with Ustaadhe, ask any of my fellow Duke Engagers or anyone who has every met him for that matter. It’s probably the aspect about him that I admire and respect the most. He makes you realize that everything can be seen as something bigger and more complex, something to really contemplate. Suddenly we were talking about how many people don’t understand/realize what’s going on in Cairo or better yet how many choose to ignore it. “Not knowing is essentially knowing…so how do we fix that?” he says. I stopped speaking for a little while to contemplate the “Ustaadhe quote of the day”.
We effectively decide what we do and don’t want to know by the way we go about our life; we choose to ignore something and therefore know about it. I may sound like I’m blabbering over here but stop and think about it for a second. Anyways, strange how in the next couple of minutes we arrived at Al-Kayan, where we learned about how many people choose not to address the massive amount of disabled children in Egypt ( which is around 8 million). It related right back to the quote perfectly…that Ustaadhe Lo is a wise man.