Monday, April 16, 2012

Right to left

Well, here's something I didn't expect: I'm typing from right to left in English. The internet in Egypt is obnoxious because it automatically gives you the arabic version of the site based on the location of your ISP. As a result, I'm typing this in an Arabic-arrangement window, so my cursor is lingering before the beginning of my sentences even though my words are going on the end. I just wonder what will happen to my final punctuation.

So, I've been able to type with both hands since about 5 minutes after my last post, but I'll try to think of another excuse for not updating in a second. Oh yeah; it's cuz I never get time to think. It's a vicious cycle: I think I would have more of a handle on things if I blogged more, but I also don't feel like I have enough of a handle on things to really have anything to update everyone on. I guess I do, though, and I think I might get to it once I give up on this paragraph.

Hey, try to guess the two most common names in Egypt. If you guessed Mohammed and Ahmed, you're right. However, among Coptic Christians, there are two names with incomparable ubiquity: Mina and Abanoub. At the boys' orphanage we visited last week, I thought a kid was playing a game where he says "babanoubabanoubabanoubabanoubabanouba", apparently because all the Abanoubs wanted to introduce themselves together, except for one. While a solid 80% of the children went by that name, I've yet to meet an adult male whose name isn't Mina. There were a few who introduced themselves otherwise, but I assume they're all nicknames so that people can differentiate a bit. One guy was named Camel.

Today marks the third full Tuesday since we arrived in Egypt. Three weeks- almost half our trip- seems to have gone by way too quickly. Our first 5 days were spent exploring and shopping and stuff, so today marks the beginning of our third week of ministry. Tuesdays, we visit a center for street kids that is an hour-and-a-half drive away, kinda near the Pyramids of Giza on the other side of Cairo. We prepare different skits based on our recollections of Aesop's fables, the parables of Jesus, or sometimes original compositions designed to teach them the values that they need to know in order to live in society. Previously, we'd do a short program and then just play with the kids, but because one of their default settings is play-fighting, we've been asked to create longer programs and discourage the free play idea. I think that Tuesdays are some of our favorite days, as a team. The girls on our team are a very creative and somewhat crafty group, so putting together paper masks and other props for all the skits is really facilitated by that.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, we visit the homes of Sudanese refugees and share with them words of encouragement and different things we've been learning in our personal readings of the Bible. I really enjoy this ministry because it's encouraging to me when I can encourage others, and having to draw themes out of the scriptures really helps me to understand the nature and teachings of Jesus more than I have before.
 Since Easter is scheduled differently for the Eastern church and the Western church, this past Thursday was Maundy Thursday. Partly because the schools were closed, and partly because it was Martina's 23rd birthday, we had a slightly modified schedule from our usual Thursday school and gender-divided orphanage visits.

Man, I have a meeting soon, because I'm co-in charge today, so I guess I'll have to fill you in on the other interesting stuff later. This is a great place to stop, right? Yeah.