Food Adventures - June 28, 2013

We have started cooking for ourselves as of today, Friday, June 28. The past couple of days we have been eating at the monastery right up the street. Our food has consisted of cheese, ayish(similar to pita bread), cheese, some random meats, gibna(cheese in arabic), veggies, and more cheese. The hospitality has been felt at every meal, leaving me full for the whole day. The people here in the garbage community are really friendly, making shopping for groceries really fun. Our team split into smaller groups that we call families with a list of groceries, money, and our dictionaries. The people (Egyptian and American) whom speak Arabic were not allowed to speak in order to create space for the people who do not speak much Arabic (such as myself) to learn more of the language. This simple chore of buying groceries was really fun, but also difficult. The man whom I purchased ayish from spoke some English, but in order to practice Arabic, I had to figure out how to ask how much something was, how to say numbers, and how to confirm and ask to buy something. It took me several tries, but I can officially say that I successfully have bought bread in Arabic…I do need a lot more practice though. Shopping taught me a lot about the culture, having to dodge cars, ask where a lot of things are, find the vegetables with the least amount of flies around them, and, my favorite, say “hello” to all the children. I have been learning a lot about God in the hospitality in this community from my time shopping as well. People are very open in helping the lost Americans find what they are looking for and the children love running up and saying “Hello” and “What’s your name?” The people have created a lot of space to learn about the Coptic Christian culture, meet new Egyptian friends, time to watch the revolution on a local public television, and of course, experience eating the way people eat here in the garbage village as best we can. I am excited to learn more about the culture here and how to even cook Egyptian food as a fun way to bring the Mokattam village back home with me.