Cairo Summer: In the beginning…
Right now I am beaming. I just finished my first home visit in Cairo and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
This summer I will be spending four weeks in Cairo doing program development and analysis for a small, 6-year-old, non-profit called the Littlest Lamb. Not only is adoption illegal in Egypt, there is a stigma attached to being an orphan that makes it extremely difficult to succeed. The Littlest Lamb is dedicated to breaking this cycle. Our aim is to provide a home for orphans through the opening of our own orphanage in December 2013, and by developing programs to aid other orphanages that are overextended and under-resourced. This summer I will be analyzing and developing these programs. In order to do so I will be working with our program director based in Egypt going around to each of the homes we aid in order to get an understanding of how our programs are doing and if there are any emerging needs. My goal before I leave is to build a more organized program implementation structure as well as to revamp our programs so we go beyond service delivery. I will be leaning on my Multi-sector partnerships course, MPSO, and Community Organizing to help me along the way.
A note on language: Another one of my goals this summer is to change the language I use with regard to the children we serve. Previously I have referred to the children as orphans and their homes as orphanages. This is strictly for explanatory purposes. Going forward the orphans will be referred to as kids, children, friends, or any terms of endearment I come up with. The orphanages will be referred to as homes.
So far Cairo has been especially good to me. The food is great, the weather is amazing, and the people are kind and genuine. Yesterday I went to one of the homes we provide medical and tutoring services too, and I had an amazing time. It is an all girls home located in the Abou Zaabal neighborhood of Cairo. The girls range from 5-20 years old. They energetic and eager to learn anything I could teach them. After I taught them some games they taught me some Arabic. The funniest thing that’s happened to me so far? The girls thinking my hair was a wig! Hahaha! I couldn’t help but crack up when they asked me about it. They were so amazed by how big my hair is. After I told them that it wasn’t a wig they all wanted me to teach them how to braid their hair. It was amazing. I can’t wait to go back and see them again. Wig in tow.