When assessing the things that are really important in life, most honest people would have to agree that it is the deep relationships that will ultimately mean the most. For most in Egypt (myself included), that means first and foremost some kind of relationship with God. The depth of our relationships with the people around us usually takes an easy second place in terms of priorities. For many, I believe that a lack of critical reflection leads people to hold this priority as an ideal that will haunt them and rear its ugly head when they are faced with the end of their life. Thankfully this is not the only option. In Maadi I see many who do not have this blind spot in the copious amounts of time they spend at “the coffee shop.”
Living in Maadi Egypt has been a challenge, blessing, adventure and so many other things all rolled up into one not-so-tidy package. The swirling design of the streets with eddies being the round-abouts and the confusion that this contributes to arriving in Maadi while adding a permanent element of adventure to getting from one place to the next is a macro reflection of what I have observed in so many people’s lives around me. I am not claiming that the streets have any major impact on the psyche of those living in Maadi although I’m sure there is some kind of influence but it did seem like a creative way to illustrate an idea I have been thinking about after observing my students and friends here in Maadi (and Cairo at large). Simply put, I am pondering the seemingly disconnected micro reflections of macro transitions that happen in a country.