Happy New Year!

Most of us celebrated New Years Eve in Dawson Hall.  We ordered pizza from Pizza Hut (quite a treat here in Egypt), watched It's a Wonderful Life, and had a champagne toast at midnight.

In my flat, the cockroaches were having a New Years Eve party of their own!  For a week after we returned from Israel & Palestine, my kitchen sat empty and got regular doses of Raid.

Matt and I decided to start the new year with a clean (or at least cleaner) Dawson Hall.  We cleaned the floor in the common room and spent a few hours on our hands and knees scrubbing years worth of dirt out of the rug.  It was a lot of work, but the yoga sessions we have on that rug are now much more enjoyable!

We also used a hairdryer to defrost my freezer and we spent another evening pounding the dirt out of my living room rug and scrubbing it in the bathtub.  It is nice to have at least a few clean things in Egypt!


I have to start here by apologizing for the gruesome photos.  In January we celebrated a Muslim holiday, the eid al-adha.  One part of the celebration is the slaughtering of animals in the street.  Each family who can afford to do so buys an animal (sheep, goat, cow, etc) and slaughters it, sharing the meat with family members and those who cannot afford an animal.

Garbage City, or the moquattam, is the area of Cairo where most of the city's garbage is dumped.  The area is fairly densely populated and many of the people living in Garbage City survive by sorting through the trash for items that can be used to make money.  There is an organization working in Garbage City to train young girls to weave rugs out of scraps of material, mostly from factories.  They also have a paper recycling project where women make paper by hand and turn it into greeting cards, gift bags, and other paper products.

This preschool is used to educate the children of those who work in the weaving and recycling areas of Garbage City.

Cave churches at the Moquattam

Far left:  Rachel and I getting mobbed by Egyptian girls, excited to talk with foreigners - this happens to us often!

Breaking news on the cooking front!

Molasses + Sugar = Brown sugar

No more searching for recipes without brown sugar or buying unreasonably expensive imported brown sugar!

If you have known this brown sugar "formula" forever or if it is printed in every Better Crocker cookbook, please humor me and pretend that our discovery was as ground-breaking as it felt!
Anybody want to play Monopole?

We found this Egyptian game in Dawson Hall and had fun using Egyptian pounds to  buy and sell property in Cairo.  The game takes just as long to finish as it when it's called Monopoly!

One night during the vacation, five of us got dressed up, had sushi for dinner, and went to see the Cairo Opera rendition of Madame Butterfly.  The sushi wasn't spectacular and the opera was, well, Egyptian, but we had a good time and it was well worth the 15 LE ($2.50) we paid for the opera tickets!
This month I started playing ultimate frisbee on Fridays with a group of Sudanese, Egyptians, and western ex-pats