Monday, February 7, 2011

Letters from Egypt: Meet Hanna

This picture was taken the first time I met Fathy and his family back in October
Hanna Fathy, a 27-year old resident of Garbage City, previously spent his days volunteering with a group that built solar-powered water heating systems and biogas digesters made from trash in the Greater Cairo area. He volunteered in order to pay for his energy-saving products, but now his main concern is food.

His supplemental income: giving guided tours throughout Garbage City, the cave churches in Moqattam and the City of the Dead. He survived off of 150LE (about $26, rates prior to protests) per person for the tours. My family was privy to meeting Fathy in January and according to my sister, that was one of the highlights of their trip.

I called Fathy this morning to find out how he was doing and asked if he needed anything. His answer: food. My answer: to be delivered tomorrow. He added, “Do you know any open jobs? We’re all looking.” Unfortunately I don’t, but if any you do, please contact me so I may pass the information along.

While some rant away about foreign influence in their country, did they ever think about what we contribute to the Egyptian economy? And I’m not referring to the national average for Egypt’s tourism industry. I’m discussing small business owners and the like doing odds and ends in order to survive.

I don’t have a great deal of money, but I’ve purchased a few things like rice, flour, cooking oil and sugar. I will be sending someone to gather balady bread and vegetables from the street and will be making my first food delivery to Hanna and his family tomorrow.If there's more of an interest to help, I would like to deliver food to other homes in the area and beyond.

Attn. Expats in Cairo
If you are still located in Cairo and find that your fridge/cupboard is bursting with food items like mine and you wouldn’t mind departing with a few of these, please send me a message and I will personally come and pick them up. Furthermore, I want to encourage all of you that are still in Egypt that if you can, try to give your bowabs, street cleaners, garbage men, etc. some groceries. I don’t support giving money, but I do support helping those in need.

How to Help Elsewhere
If you want to help, but aren’t located in Cairo (alternately if you are located in Cairo, but this is a more suitable option) you can message me about giving money. Another Cairo expat will be stateside for rest of February and has offered to collect the money (should you be located in the US). I will create a spreadsheet of all the money collected and exactly how much food is bought. As many groups pretend to use money in circumstances like this, often times they’re unable to account for it and/or fail to properly allocate. I don’t anticipate this becoming a large and in-charge project, but I just want to assure those of you who have already contacted me about giving money that you will have proof that it went to the people that needed it the most. So if this is the option you'd like to choose, please send me a message with your email and I will give you the name and address of where you may send money.

While a few blogs ago I wrote about starting a community street clean, there are bigger concerns now. Fathy’s community aren’t the only ones that are suffering, this is just where I’ve chosen to start.

Fathy's son, Christiano

No comments:

Post a Comment