Egypt, oh wonderful Egypt

The trip that changed my life

February 11, 2014  |  By Léa Fournier-Bouvet, France

Egypt, oh wonderful Egypt

Photo : Léa Fournier-Bouvet

It has been a few days since I arrived in Egypt; a country that made me go back centuries in the history of the world. Today our guide, Abdou, brings us to a felucca, a typical boat from Egypt, on this beautiful and majestic river that is the Nile. At this very moment, I did not know what to expect or know what was about to happen to me and how it was going to change my being.

A world of dust

We arrive on the shore of the Nile, on this little piece of dry land. The entrance of the village strikes me and I realise that the people living there do not have what we call 'our little' comfort. The streets are only made of sand, dirt and dust. I can see a couple of houses with no doors, windows or floor expect for sand. The heat is already intense but I can immediately feel the warmth of the people living in this world of dust.

Our arrival in the school also touches me profoundly because I notice that the school building is very old and that it is beginning to fall apart. But the paintings on the walls make it all the more colourful and joyful. The yellow and red walls but also the dark writing carry me into their education world, but also into their everyday life. I can see beautiful smiles appearing through the windows as children are looking at us, and I smile at them too. I can feel the human warmth coming from these children going through my entire body, muscle by muscle, but mostly my heart.

Time to teach

We enter a class of a sparkling blue. At first I follow the rest of my family and walk to the back of the class, but my mother pushes me to the front and I end up sitting by the side of a beautiful little girl. Her two little braids are so cute and she put a smile on my face. Children always make me smile and fill my life with happiness. I ask this perfect little girl what her name is and she answered me instantly. Unfortunately, I forgot her pretty name but one thing that I did not forget is the sound of her voice. I know that this voice will be with me forever.

Then, the teacher teaches us the numbers in Arabic. The children were saying the numbers with us and I felt like a part of something, part of their community. The most special moment came when all the children gathered in front of us to sing a French song, 'Frère Jacques'. It was amazing and from that minute this song became very special to me.

A special goodbye

Then the time came to leave. Every single one of the children followed us to our felucca and it was time for one of the most beautiful moments of my entire life. A dwarf, that was the butt of everyone's jokes, took the hand of my big brother. All the way down to the felucca, they were hand-in-hand. This young man was so proud to hold my brother's hand in front of his companions. But once at the felucca, it was hard for him to let go of the hand. I could see that my brother was moved by this man, who must have been almost have the same age as him. So my brother decided to give him something, the only thing that he had on him which can seem ridiculous. It was water melon gums. Immediately an amazing smile appeared on the man's face. At this very moment he was the king of the world and all the people around him respected and envied him.

We left this extraordinary village knowing that we had made someone special happy. A pretty simple but powerful emotion filled the air and all my family's hearts. I knew that my life would never be the same for me. So I thank with all my heart Abdou, the teacher, this beautiful little girl and this exceptional man for changing my life.

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