Thursday, October 7, 2010

Last days in Egypt

We had a very early breakfast at the hotel, which was very tasty.

Then we went to an old synagogue in Egypt, and two Coptic churches. One of them was having a service, and it was wonderful to watch and hear the Coptic chanting. I told my students this was their one chance to hear someone speaking Egyptian.

From there we went to the Museum. That, of course, is wonderful. We all really enjoyed our time there. Poor Kaleb, who has been such an incredible trooper, was enjoying it, but was getting really tired (4:30 am wake-up's will do that to you). So I gave him a piggy back ride while we were looking at the Tut stuff, and he fell asleep on my back. He slept for a while, but I thought he might feel bad if he missed seeing Tut's golden mask. I thought he would wake up for it and then go back to sleep, but when I woke him up to see it he told me he had lost feeling in his leg (guess I was holding on too tight to keep the sleeping boy on my back), and the pain kept him from going back so sleep.

Its just as well, this way he got to get down and go to the royal mummy rooms. He liked that. In the meantime, one of my students became dehydrated, nearly passed out, and we had to take care of her and get her to the bus. I watched over her carefully for a while, and she ended up doing just fine.

The kids are starting to have so much fun with the students. They really enjoy them. They play games with them on the bus, hang out with them on the field trips, and are getting very close.

After lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, we went to the big bazaar of Cairo, the Khan al-Kalili. We got a few presents there and had a good time.

After this we had a sacrament meeting. That morning I had asked a few students (and Kent Jackson) to bear their testimony. BJ lent me his tie while I conducted, and I was going to give it back to him while he passed the sacrament, but someone else lent him theirs during that time. It ended up being an incredibly spiritual meeting. The five testimonies were really good, and then I had a few minutes to bear mine and talk to them. I could see that so many people were so moved. It was really a wonderful meeting.

I forgot to mention one experience I had that was meaningful to me. We have had little in the way of sickness on this trip. One girl got pretty sick at Hatshepsut's temple, and threw up a number of times. But she really wanted to ride the camels. During lunch and the hour we had to rest after that, she asked me for a blessing. I gave it to her, and felt prompted to tell her she would quickly be made whole and recover and be just fine. I started to doubt myself, asking if I should really tell her that. My faith wavered a little. Hers did not. She went on the camel ride feeling pretty good just an hour later, and told me that as soon as she started she got feeling great. I think she had the faith, and as she demonstrated her willingness to act on it she was blessed miraculously. It was faith building for me.

We went back to the hotel and prepared ourselves for a good night's sleep. The kids went to bed pretty quickly. Julianne and I went for a small walk around the hotel grounds. There we found students in trouble. Some were being hit on by guys who wanted them to go drinking with them. Some were having horrible smells eminate from their air conditioners, some were having strange men try to break into their rooms so strenuously that the door know broke, and some were hanging out by themselves where the less desirable guys were. It took us a long time to get everything squared away and all feeling safe and calm. So, we didn't get as much sleep as we hoped for, but we got some nonetheless.

The next morning we went to see some wonderful mosques. When we were done with that we ate lunch and left Egypt. On the way back we stopped at some places that were possible candidates for Biblical stories that happened to Israel on the way out of Egypt. It was fun and meaningful as well.

We finally got to our hotel at Sinai, and exhaustedly fell into bed.

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