Today I had the most humbling and eye-awakening experience. I was lost trying to find a friend’s place in Zamalek near the Nile. I hadn’t seen her in years and was so excited, but also, so terribly late. I found a net cafe and tried mapping out the directions she gave me but the street spelling in Arabic found no match in English.
I was so hot and thirsty so I sat inside a cafe with A/C and grabbed an apple soda. A man started yelling at me about my cigarette but I just ignored him. This girl, no older than 17 years old, asked me for change as she breastfed her baby boy. I gave her some money then asked her if she could help me with directions. She took me outside, called her husband, no older than she, and he ran around asking neighbors and store owners if they knew the person I was visiting. In the meantime, I got to know more about this beautiful girl from the countryside who had just moved to the big city to work as a housekeeper while her husband washed cars and delivered stuff for tenants. She was sweet, very classy in her mannerisms, genuine, humble, and I would trust her carrying my purse carrying thousands of dollars. She was honorable, had supreme faith in a God, and never questioned why she was dealt a bad hand in life.
While I waited for her husband to return, she bought me a pack of cigarettes and a can of soda, neither of which I had asked for. I felt bad she used whatever pennies she had to buy me anything. I saw a toy store and grabbed a motorcycle for her kid who bounced around in joy, more joy than my niece when I handed her a big bag of toys from the Disney store. When her husband returned with no luck, they invited me to have dinner with them. I slowly noticed people were stopping out of curiousity to find out why I was talking to these poor beggars from the countryside. I heard people gossping. I saw people gather in the corners and on the doorsteps and from the balconies, wondering WHY is this woman even bothering to be seen conversing with the lowest class of society. What did she want from them? I shrugged them off and accepted the girl’s invitation. They rejoiced in shock that I accepted. They were so happy they had a guest who wasn’t like them but someone they never dreamed would give them a minute of time, who wouldn’t walk on them or send them on an errand. What this girl wanted was a friend and what her husband wanted was a mentor, a guest, someone they could learn from and exchange news about the weather or the landslide tragedy that happened yesterday.
As I walked with them to their home, I noticed people following us to see what I was going to do. They were in disbelief. I kept walking and when the girl and boy stopped in front of a hole on the side of a tall apartment building and guided me in, I held my breath from the stench of urine.
Inside the “home”, the walls were bare, the floors dirty with broken tile, no furniture but two pillows that were thrown in front of a tiny busted TV flipping channels of static. They told me to have a seat but I did not know where to sit. So after I watched him sit on the empty floor, I followed. Two minutes later, the girl came to me with a tray of tea, sweets, bananas and mangoes. Then she sat next to me and continued breastfeeding her baby. Outside, people were whispering so the boy closed the door. What I saw exceeded poverty in the Southside of Chicago, in the back alleys, in the ghetto. They had two additional rooms with nothing in them. I was afraid to ask where they slept. I was afraid to ask anything. As I watched the baby now crawling across the barren floor, I was afraid to ask if he was sick, if they were sick, and if they were happy.
Then the girl’s aunt and uncle came into the home and greeted me with grapes and peaches. They kept their gazes low and I barely saw their eyes. The baby’s feet knocked over a cup of tea and started crying from the burn. I grabbed him and started blowing his feet until his cries turned into smiles. I tried not to breath for I knew that if I did, tears would stream down my face. I felt my heart beating for I loved these people. Their souls glowed from their eyes and their words were bond. In fact, their spirits outweighed most people I knew in goodness. How life can be unfair. And what if these people had been given more? Would they still be so selfless? I bet my life on it.
I wanted to excuse myself to be outside in the air. The home was stuffy, super hot and sweaty smelling and I was so sad. When I got up to leave, I saw a crowd of people standing outside wanting to know what I was there for and what could have possibly excited me to go inside and visit such a people. These people were solid gold and as I excused myself to “use their restroom”, I left some money in their cabinet, swallowed my tears, and investigated the remaining rooms. This kid had no toys other than what I gave him. This girl had no make-up, clothes other than what she was wearing, and no knick-knacks to decorate her home.
I’ve seen mud huts this year. I have seen povery-stricken communities throughout Africa. I have seen children with bones protruding out of their bodies crying for food or someone to touch them. I have seen it all in so many countries in my lifetime that I can’t help but be the way I am and continue to strive to do what little I can. Every little bit makes a difference and it is in these tiny measures that we can all solve the world’s problems. It’s sad to say though, most people don’t bother initiating. Everybody thinks they can’t make a difference. But this is far from the truth. It is the sum of all our good actions that can turn the world over and help elevate us towards a higher vibration.
When I walked out of the house, I offered them money, but as their guest, they refused to take it. They refused to take anything and knowing this, I left them the gift in their bathroom. These people reminded me of the Egyptians I once knew growing up. They reminded me of what Egypt was. They reminded me of the Egypt I had in my heart and will forever be in my heart. If I hired that boy to work on my production team, I know he would be my eyes and ears on the set, in the seediest industry in the world. He would have my back. I also know that if I ever need someone to watch over my kids when I had some, that girl would treat them, protect them and mother them as her own. I know they would not steal from me. I know that their loyalty would be solid until the end of my days.
In fact, my entire production crew, from the beauty deartment to the technical, will be Egyptians straight from Egypt. I also know that all my production assistants, will be Egyptians. And if I ever needed a gardner, a driver, a caretaker for my parents, an assistant, artist, writer, painter, muse, best friend, sister, brother, they will all be Egyptians.
So when Blue Panther unleashes her projects already scribed towards completion, watch out for the golden Egyptian task force to come correct with the talent, steez, workmanship, honor, and perfection that have been our hallmark for many centuries. Hollywood will never know what hit em. I’m pulling people not based on what their experience is, but on loyalty and real talent. The pyramids weren’t built overnight. Nor were they built right the first time, yet perfection takes time. In writing, and I know what I write here is emailed each day to tons of people, I promise you this, there is an Egyptian storm brewing…brewing with phenomenal talent and heart that has only been written about in books about the ancients. Patience. I will preserve my heritage and show the world what we are still capable of doing in this day and age. I will forever lead by example and leave all the fools behind.
There is good and bad in every country. This post is in honor of the Egypt that was, and if you look hard enough, still is.