Welcome to the family!

Each day in Cairo is getting better and better.  We have found our little home in Moqattam, and we have found our not-so-little family.  After last night, the craziest wedding we have ever seen, I think it is official – they love us (and we love them).

Let me start from the beginning.  We spent the morning at the Spirit of Youth Boys Recycling School, meeting with some of the teachers and shooting some b-roll footage.  We have been there before, so it was nice to see it again, and this time it was booming with children.  After we spent a few hours there, we headed back to the homestead – oh the lovely Carlton Hotel – which, by the way, has become like an old friend to us.  Justin captured all the footage for the day, and we worked on some photos and a video for the blog, and just hung out.  We even ordered Chili’s for lunch and had it delivered.  (not as good as the USA Chili’s, but it was a decent lunch).

Then we packed up and headed back up to the mountain for the wedding.  Oh boy.  We were in a lot of “wedding traffic” because yesterday was the last day for people to get married before their fast.  They fast for 55 days until Easter, and they basically take on a vegan diet – but they also don’t marry anyone during that time – so everyone was getting hitched on Sunday.  The drive was entertaining though, as Lauren and I played a rousing game of Humdinger – where she hummed a song and I had to guess it.  She’s good at that game, the humming part – but if you try to hum, she will tell you that you are doing it wrong – so it’s safe just to guess the song yourself.

We arrived at our family’s house (yes, that’s how I will refer to them, haha) and we walked up to the monastery together.  The mother, who up until this point, we have always seen sorting garbage and working around the house, was dressed up and looking so beautiful.  It is interesting to point out that our super translator, Heba, was unable to join us for the wedding, so we had no translator.  Most of the family does not speak any English, but we have been with them so much lately that we have kind of met each other half way, and can communicated with hand signals and interpretive dance.  Ok, the dancing is mostly me.  Guilty.  Granted, they speak Arabic to us, and we stare at them a bit, then the kids will act it out until we know what they mean.  We were quite proud of us for making it through the night, not really understanding each other’s spoken language.  Sure, we missed Heba, but it is more of the thought that we kind of have our own language with them to get by.

Pay attention….our hearts are just getting bigger and bigger.

So back to the wedding – I’m pretty sure there were multiple ceremonies being held.  We got there in time for the “party” which was in the cafeteria area.  Because we were with the mother when we walked up, she latched on to Lauren’s hand and led us up into the masses.  There were so many people there, you couldn’t see straight.  The smile on mother’s face as she led us in, dragging Lauren, and then followed by Justin and I, was priceless.  They were showing us off.  Obviously, the three white kids walking in with our backpacks and tripod, etc – we stand out a bit.  They took us around to meet, what seemed like, every member of their extended family.  We saw familiar faces, waved, and shook lots of hands.  Not to be cliche, but it makes you feel like a bit of a celebrity, even though we’re not.  The boys found us, and made sure we could get through the crowd to the back of the cafeteria so we could take our cameras out and jackets off.  It was cute, because at one point, Justin was up, shooting footage of the bridge and groom, and Lauren was up with her new best friend, the mother – taking pictures, and I was watching the bags off to the side, shooting what I could with the flip cam.  People would keep coming up to me, trying to talk to me, but the father stood there and protected me from anyone who wanted to come over.  It was funny and so cute.  He grabbed trays of food for us to eat, and yelled at anyone who tried to take them from us.  We are most definitely part of the family now.  You will get a much better picture of the atmosphere when you see the footage.  However, you’re just going to have to wait for the film, now aren’t you?  Oh teaser.

I don’t know that we could have described the feeling we had, as we said good night and walked down the hill.  Another successful day in Moqattam.  We had just spent the evening with our new family, and all we needed to communicate was the smiles on our faces and the warmth in our hearts.  Can’t get much better than that.

Before I go, I do want to just go ahead and touch on a small situation that happened, that I tried to get away with not mentioning on the blog, because it is embarrassing – but I will go ahead and take one for the team.  So, night before last, we were hanging with the family all day, and we were walking out of town, out to the bridge to get a taxi.  We were having trouble finding an empty one, so we walked up on the bridge, on the little sidewalk/curb area.  It isn’t super wide, and there are these giant light poles every 20 feet or so.  I had the camera bag on my back, and sort of lost my balance, but I didn’t want to step onto the road (and risk my life with Cairo drivers) so when I came to one of the poles, I went to wrap my arm around it to pull myself back to the curb.  Well, little did I know that there is a panel door that SHOULD be closed, but on this particular pole, it was not.  Long story short, I went to grab the pole, put my hand directly in the panel door, and grabbed a live wire.  I felt a zap and then the light above me went out.  Luckily, I didn’t hold long enough to where my hand would have contracted around it, it just gave me a good shock.  Everyone else was walking in front of me, and I couldn’t even muster a scream.  I just kind of bent over and then Justin saw me and came to see what was up.  We had a good laugh about it, and I’m ok.  Lauren is calling me “Sparky” now.

We’re off to shoot at the A.P.E. again today, and then we’ll meet up with the family tonight.  We got a bunch of the photos we’ve taken printed and put them in a nice photo album, and we’re going to give it to them.  I’m telling you….hearts are growing bigger by the moment.

Hope all of you are well.  Sending our love from Cairo.


And here’s a nice video (http://vimeo.com/9289815)….I’m working on the wedding video tonight/tomorrow, so that will be coming soon.


~ by zabaleen on February 8, 2010.

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