Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Trip to Egypt (part 3) – No Crocs in the Nile

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Squeegee, Water Bottle, & Shoes on Table Due to Flooding in Room

I don’t know about you but when I pack, I doubt every item other than underwear and socks (and a belt). Everything else I put in the bag is weighed heavily in my mind. It takes me several days to pack, in fact, and it probably drives my precious wife crazy. One item I wish I had not brought was the blank folders I use to store and keep notes. One item I wish I had brought that I had looked at TWICE were my CROCS. Crocs are great little, squishy, comfy, rubber shoes.

As we turn on our street, Yasser says the road is closed. So we went around. And around. And around. There was nowhere to go. Mud roads off of the desert road made driving difficult. We were stuck in a small pond/mud puddle and Yasser somehow navigated us out by turning the wheel and gunning it. It took about 5 minutes to get out and I thought I was going to need those Crocs or go barefoot to push the car. Not a good moment. But we made it out. Circled around and around (it’s hard to describe the fear, anguish, anger, and aggravation of these 45 minutes because we were late for the teaching and everyone on the bus had to get off the bus and walk to the center). Somehow, we made it to the center though Susie’s suitcase fell out of a pick up truck a time or two. The driver of the first car I was in with the rest of the group was upset. He said he will not be back to pick us up. So there’s that. Then Yasser’s car is having a mechanical problem, probably due to the high waters under his car and that splashed up at times (his left sleeve was muddy and soaked with the window open). And it’s raining.

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Muddy road in Egyptian Desert

We walk through the mud, up 2 flights of stairs outside in the rain to my room. We open the door and there are 3 twin beds, one is soaked and the other ones wet a bit. I find the most dry one and plan to sleep there. I walk inside and splash, splash, splash. My shoes are in puddles of water on my floor. The kind Egyptian man uses a long squeegee type of broom-like instrument to push the water out. He gets some of it and I would get the rest later. I got pretty good at it because it rained heavier later in the evening. As I type this, my barefeet are on the wet floor. It’s different, that’s for sure.

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We put the suitcases in the room and go to teach. The power is out everywhere. Thankfully, they used a generator and I got power in my room because I wear a CPAP to sleep and it requires power. I do have a battery backup but I want to save it until I really need it.

We go to teach and instead of two rooms, the power is out in the dining hall and one building where the basics of module 1 was to be taught. So everyone joined in module 5 with us and we did not have powerpoint or notes. So Tim shared his testimony and I talked about the drug problems in Egypt that I had researched earlier. Afterward, we ate dinner with the Egyptians, a lively, fun group of people. Some had children. Some were couples. Others were single men and women. It was a cross cultural group.

We ate a regular Egyptian meal that was very nice: Pasta with spaghetti-like sauce, two thin hamburger patties (must have been thin, tiny cows!), and some flatbread pitas. Oh, and French fries with ketchup packets. We had a big meal.

After dinner, we walked through the rain and mud to the building where Tim taught part 1 and I did something new that I have never done anywhere before – and it worked great! It was an interactive walk through using 5 students as volunteers. One had a problem and the other 4 had to be a part of the biblical process of change (4 steps) and counsel the student through the problem. Of course, I told the student that the problem was unbiblical fear of rain (not the legitimate, biblical concern of the dangers of rain since some fears are righteous, self-protecting, and good fears!). Everyone could relate. When lightning and thunderstruck, the students would be very fearful as if some strange thing that never happens was happening. Well, it was for them since they rarely experience rain. To Tim and I, it was not a big deal but they were struggling. So the exercise worked beautifully, everyone was engaged, and they even clapped for me at the end of the lesson! It was a nice way to end a night where I felt like a failure for twice denying my Crocs a free trip to not only see the Nile River, but to experience it – right on my living room floor! 🙂

I only joke because the room was very nice and accommodating. I had a pleasant place to sleep and am so thankful that I could sleep with a roof over my head (with leaky walls, some electrical sparks due to water in the light switches/sockets – but not a leaky roof!).

-Mark (praising God for His faithfulness)

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