You’ve looked at the pictures and read the descriptions… Now you can see what we’ve been up to for yourself! A short video of our first week in Cairo is below.
This morning we climbed onto a 15-passenger van and began our journey out of Garden City to the desert to Ana El-Masry, our primary community partner. After turning around several times on the highway, we finally turned onto a dirt path in the desert that looked like a construction site and did some serious off-roading until we reached a massive compound complete with grass in the front yard and a row of palm trees lining the drive. With miles and miles of sand stretched out around it, it was a little oasis and a haven for many.
Once inside, we met with Maria, who has been with Ana El-Masry since its beginning. She discussed that most of these children weren’t orphans, but rather children who were separated from their families, يتيم in Arabic, or at risk children. She explained that the purpose was to develop the children, using a very flexible human developmental process. Eventually children will be reunited with their families and with society as contributing members, not as dependents on food and clothing that is just given to them without work or effort.
Above all she emphasized that the children are the focus. She explained that the lesson plans or the materials or lack thereof are not as important as the child and what you can give them. “You are here, and so is the child; you are complete.” She also told us to keep in mind that they are humans, at all times they are humans and they need our love. “Wake up. They are human beings and sometimes they just want something.”
Ana el-Masry’s message of hope, love and future through human development not handouts is truly inspiring and just makes me all the more excited to go tomorrow and start loving and teaching them! The children are precious and to not love them is مستحيل, or impossible!