I cant believe tomorrow is FRIDAYYYYYYYY. It feels like I have been on this trip for 3 weeks. We arrived in Aswan yesterday and are staying at this beautifulllllll hotel that sits on the Nile. I have to take a boat to get to town. Its absolutely amazing and is very different from Cairo. Cairo is like the big city, there are 80 million people that live there. Many of the living areas seem destitute and lower income. The children roam the streets and try to sell things such as bookmarkers and pictures for 5.5 pounds ($1.00). They get sooo frustrated when you do not want what they are selling. It makes you wonder what they have eaten that day… and the older people are worse. The bombard you at the tourist sites with tons of objects, and all they want is a US dollar. The level of poverty is soo apparent that it makes you wonder about the gap between the upper and lower class and what the government is doing to help its people. I believe, that there must be a small elite class in Cairo who benefit from the poverty of the masses, its sad. In ancient times, Cairo was a place were the Pharaoh, such as King Khufu, would work towards building a communal society where citizens worked together for a common goal and would receive shelter, clothes, and food to survive. This common goal was to build the pyramids in his honor and bask in its glory. These people depended on one another and this was the African way. Today, the influence of capitalism is apparent and the idea behind “every man for himself” seems to be the mentality of the people. This also obvious in the black community- long gone are the days where we can affirm that we “are our brothers and our sisters keeper”; long gone are the days were we sacrifice for the betterment of the entire community, not just ourselves. How can we restore the traditions of our ancestors?? Although Aswan is beautiful, it is the same as Cairo. I went to the market today and this man became clearly frustrated with me because I didn’t want t o buy the scarf that I had considered buying from him. It was enough that he doubled the price of its worth originally when he tried to sell it to me, but then he tried to cheat me out of my money when I decided to buy it. I gave him American dollars and he paid me back in Egyptian pounds but miscalculated what he owed me by more than 10.00, it was no mistake. This is the same man who said, “welcome home to Egypt” as I went past his shop. These people are so desperate for money. Anyway…I miss my mommy! Its soo frustrating that I cannot call the people that I want to call when I want to call them! It’s frustrating that I can’t use the compute when I want to, instead I have to wait in line, type a lil something something and then hurry off out of consideration of others. I don’t mind because everyone else has to do it but it has forced me to realize the amount of emphasis that I place on communication, and perhaps the lack of solitude that I sometimes need. Maybe the point is for me to focus on my experience silently and take it all in…
TTFN (Ta Ta for now)
Dana Racine Hall
PS- My daddy was feeling a little neglected so this shout out is for you!