It’s only been a couple of days and what a difference a day makes! One day I’m cruising down the Nile and the next I am reading reports of unrest in the region. Egypt was always on my to-do list but the political instability that constantly plagues the country and the region has always pushed it back to the bottom of the list.
A few months back a great deal came up and I said to myself that this was my chance and, to increase my odds, I didn’t speak of my trip to anyone to keep the endless Why Egypt going nowhere conversation at bay:-)
I am ever so grateful that I was able to make this trip; although I travel quite a bit, this will undoubtedly be the highlight of 2012. Not only for the history, pyramids and food (;-)) but for the people. Who are these people you ask? It’s the countless moms who whispered in their child’s ear to wave at me or blow me a kiss, it’s the little girls looking at me timidly before flashing a beautiful smile, it’s the little street vendors busy selling their items while calling out Canada Dry (more on that in another post:-)).
We had been traveling through Egypt for a few days already and the guide kept his speech pretty much the same: do not look at the vendors (child or adult), do not speak to people begging on the streets, walk straight ahead and do not make eye contact. I was following the rules pretty closely until that night in Luxor.
As we got off the cruise ship to head to the train station, a tiny, curly haired boy stopped me in my tracks, I pretended not to hear him, worse, I pretended not to see him but, he knew and I knew that the game was over! I whispered to him to wait for me at the front of the bus.
Some will say shame on me for being part of the cycle that keeps kids on the streets, some will say shame on me for falling prey to a well rehearsed ploy, some will say shame on me for being so gullible. Well, yes, shame on me a thousand times and then some!
My mind was made up, although I didn’t want to buy anything I wanted to give him some money. My brain was well aware that the money would be passed on to whomever was keeping him on the streets, my heart could not be stopped.
Before getting back on the bus, he grabbed my hand and gave me a bookmark.
Not everything we do in this life will have an unfallible reason, not everything we do in this life will make sense to those aorund us, not everything we do in this life needs an explanation.
That night, habibi, you bookmarked my heart.