Thoughts from The Square: June 6, 2013

Egypt Bahebek

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It was only my second day in Cairo and I was fortunate to see the Great Pyramids of Giza, ride a camel and realize that the Sphinx is much smaller than they show in the movies.
Even in these few days since my arrival, I have been reminded why there will always be the occasional bad day or an unpleasant encounter. The bad times make the good times that much better. It is not easy to live here but I knew that before I arrived. 
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I really do love people and I love my fellow interns and the AIESEC members here.  I am the only American intern here which is great because it makes me unique in the group and it gives me the opportunity to help my friends with their English. However, It can also get a bit lonely at times, nearly every person here has at least one other person present from their home country or that can speak their native language. The diversity in the group creates a perfect way to not only learn about Egyptian culture but about countries around the world. Everyone is just so incredibly hospitable and I already feel the bond of this AIESEC family growing stronger.

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Last night we had an awesome party on a felucca. Translation: we danced all night on a boat as it went down the Nile River. The view was so gorgeous and just the fact that I was on the Nile River made me so happy.  I have met such an amazing and a diverse group of strong women and courageous young men.  My apartment is full of girls from Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia and Hungary.  The rest of the interns are also from different parts of the world including, India, Jordan, Canada, Spain and Slovakia. Both my fellow travelers and AIESEC hosts are amazing people.  Some of us have some to Cairo for similar reasons,such as a harbored love the culture since childhood and for a desire to learn Egyptian Arabic. for other people it is their first time leaving home (!!) The quality of this AIESEC team is more than I could have imagined.  I am growing to love them and this country with every adventure and every new bit of knowledge.

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Me and a GUC AIESEC ICX team member my good friend Wafik, on the Felucca 🙂
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Interns from India, Columbia and USA having an amazing time with Seif another good friend in AIESEC GUC
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The Nile at night

On my third day the AIESEC team took us to the Egyptian museum in Tahir square.

Towering over the museum is a singed building that used to be the democratic party office associated with Mubarak. Seeing the very visible signs of a revolution is

in itself, deeply moving. When talking to the Egyptian AIESEC team they told me about how long Egypt’s people had been asleep before the revolution. They watched their country turn to shit and saw how it was their own governments doing. As if a testimony to a universal human condition, change is hard for people and I think a change may be especially hard in a country and culture with such strong faith and beliefs. I see so much strength in the youth of this city. They have lost friends and watched their revolution fall to an even more corrupt party than the last. Despite the loss and suffering during their protests, I see their hope and spirit for the future of their country.They hope for a better education system, for all people to be treated equally by the police, for safety in the streets, for the discontinuance of sexual harassment and for a stable economy. I am hoping that these demands sound familiar to my USA friends. It can be easy to reject other cultures especially when Islamaphobia exists in the media and in the masses.

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The reality is that we want the option to pursue happiness and to live freely. The American dream is fading as our economy has begun to collapse and college graduate can’t find jobs. The situation in Egypt is unfortunately beyond the imagination of most Americans. This is not because the US is so different from here, itis because Americans are still asleep.  The job market in Cairo is so bad that most of these college grads have never had a real job nor do they see themselves being self sustainable anytime soon. Sound familiar? In Egypt it can take hours to fill your gas tank in the US it can take an entire days paycheck.  Children cannot go to school because they need to help feed their families. In some areas of the US (such as New Orleans) our public education system is so pitiful that the rate of high school graduates is on a rapid decline. My point is that these people  are not different from us in the ways that the US government propagates.

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I have so much more to sayabout all of these things but as of now I digress. I would like to continue posting as my understanding of this country develops.

In summary: I am having an amazing time. I have already made life long friends and I feel my perspective on the world maturing. Shukran AIESEC GUC, I am so happy to have found you 🙂

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