The Visit

The Visit
I visit Egypt my birthplace every year, and when I do I usually stay with my sister who lives alone in her apartment on the 5th floor in the heart of Cairo, a city of 18 million people and more than 30 thousands Mosques and as many cafes. My sister is a religious person, she quietly prays the five mandatory daily prayers but never demands of me to join her, never breaches her religious devotion, she was just a sister who was enjoying her afar brother visit. Every morning I wake up on the smell of her signature breakfast that she prepares for me before she leaves for work ; breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, it brings the old diversity of Egyptian culture on a plate; foul mudames (feva beans) , honey, black olive, feta cheese and fresh bread, all mixed with the voice of sheikh Abd El Baset reciting the Quraan from her radio. After I finish my breakfast, I get up change the radio station to listen to Arab diva Um Kalthum. We never discussed our listening ritual, everyone quietly changes the radio station when the other is gone. Growing up in Egypt I wasn’t close to my sister, she was the only daughter out of seven sons, she was my dad favorite and I somehow resented that. I couldn’t’ as a child accept the deferential treatment. My sister left the family earlier to study away in Cairo. After all these years my visit to Egypt got me closer to her, we wear hungry to get to know each other, and catch up on all the things that we had missed growing up , we didn’t get a chance to get intimate with any, having 7 siblings, we were self-raised and self-taught, everyone was running around consumed by keeping alive. My sister and I now, enjoy this rare chance of being together alone, we talk about anything and everything, her being a women, a wife, and an executive in a big bank, a widow and a cancer survival. She asks me about Bush and Obama; and I ask her about Bin Laden and Mubarak. She is interested in American women and American culture, she loves the work ethic of the American people and their directness. I enjoy my visit and my sister conversation as I have never before, I saw in her things I never seen before, thoughtfulness, kindness and confidence hard to see in traditional Muslim woman. I saw her private life, without any social hijjap, after all these years she still a beautiful attractive woman, enveloped in modesty, intelligent and curious about the world around her. What was so amazing to me about my sister, her sense of humor, and her infectious laugh, that wasn’t apparent or seen in public. Every time I ask my sister what you need from America, she always says “Salamtik” … your safety!!

Ahmed 4/30/2010


Ahmed Tharwat …. in the middle AhMedia.... احا مديا A media critic, and a media consultant... A show with an accent for those without one! AhMedia احا مديا Ahmed Tharwat/ Host BelAhdan TV show Freelance Writer, Public Speaker, International Media Fixer


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