After a long, long trip we arrived in Cairo where Pierre and Mohamed were waiting patiently.
We showered, ate an interesting Egyptian sandwich and refreshed with a lovely mango juice. Taking the subway from the very famous Tarhir square we headed in the direction of the Salem center of FACE For Children in Need*. We planned to just to see the center, agreeing we should take it easy after such a long trip. It was a long way to get there, metro and then bus, re-enacting Indiana Jones by jumping on board whilst the bus was still in motion.
Sounds of the call for the prayer, the numerous unfinished brick buildings, the shisha cafés, the old cars and date trees. Everything is so different from Cambodia…
Arriving at the center we noticed familiar faces; we’d met them during their visit in Phnom Penh in 2010.
The system here is familiar – team charts hang across the wall and the team works towards reintegration. We’re definitely in the house of a Friends-International family member! Many programs and activities are also familiar – the drop in center and transitional homes, the friendly school and child protection policies.
We met with the project manager and staff we’ll be working with for the next two weeks. Focusing on life skills and case management we were able to define objectives of the visit, possible schedules and expectations.
Our time ended at the Salem center ended much sooner than we had hoped although we did stay longer than expected. Hopping on a crowded bus we headed back to the metro. The traffic was crazy. We dodged many cars, buses, trucks, donkey carts and three camels in a truck!
On the way out of the subway at Tharir square we are told there was a fight and that we could not exit at our gate. We turned back and followed Pierre who began running in the opposite direction!
We finished our day at a very nice restaurant with mezze and Egyptian beer before we began to fall asleep… it was time for bed. Tomorrow will be our first outreach in Cairo and we can’t wait.
* FACE For Children in Need is an NGO Friends-International works with as part of the CYTI Alliance. FACE has visited Friends-International projects in Cambodia and wanted to work with Friends-International to replicate parts of the Friends-International project model in Egypt.