Coming from Phnom Penh, via Amsterdam (in winter) and arriving in Cairo is quite a culture shock. A overcrowded city of 20 million and 4 million cars (as a man explained to me as we were trying to cross a road and nearly died 6 times), magnificent end of XIX century buildings that carry the weight of history and pollution, amazing cafes where the men look at the busy life outside, sipping the hot and strong coffee while smoking on their shishas. Amazing to all my senses.
Pierre who has been in Cairo for 4 weeks now, doing training, takes me to visit our CYTI partner FACE. FACE recently started a street children project and we are working with them to develop their services. It takes us about 30 minutes on the “Ring” (the highway around the city) to get there. All the way Pierre is nervous and rightfully so: traffic is insane and we nearly got squashed between and bus and a much bigger car. He later told me than one of the FACE staff was recently involved in a bus accident on that same road: the bus tumbled across the highway… I later saw the staff and she was wearing a neck-brace but otherwise is doing good and was playing with the children.
The FACE center is a very large and beautiful building. We are greeted by the team and the children who are ready to eat. We shake hands with everyone (Pierre kisses half the team too for good measure) and while the kids sustain themselves, we visit the center.
When we come down in the main room, lunch is finished and it is time for games. Suddenly I am chased by a boy who is walking on all fours – but on his back. I really don’t know what to do and try to avoid him a little, but not hard enough and he touches me. I laugh and he screams something to me and gestures that I need to walk like him now… now I realize that this is the game. So here I am walking with hands and feet on my back trying to catch the other kids who of course are agile and fast and within minutes I realize that I really spend too much time in front of a computer instead of exercising!
I manage to catch a couple and as our numbers grow we become more strategic and try to corner the few survivors until only one remains and is called the winner. I am told that the game is called “scorpion”. I will make sure that I bring this game to the kids in the other countries: my way to promote exchange and share good ideas in the CYTI spirit!