Asalaam aleikum wa rachmatullah wa barakatu,
I come from a country where ‘Safety’ is important, it is an important subject in parliament. In the Netherlands they have laws to keep the citizens safe. Parents do everything they can to keep their children safe. Now I live in a country where ‘Safety’ has the lowest priority. In parliament they just care about pleasing the president, keeping him safe, not about the people living in the country. And 99% of the Egyptians live with the motto “it will never happen to us.” They don’t see dangers and to be frank, they simply don’t give a flying f*ck.
It is hard for me to live in a country like this. It is hard to watch others put themselves, or worse, their children at danger.
I’ve seen builders working without any protection. If you’d see the scaffolding they use for building houses, it will give you the shivers. I’ve seen welders, welding without a protective mask.
I’ve seen pregnant women, who just been to their prenatal checkup, getting on a motorcycle with their husband. Wearing abaya’s (long black dresses), and ofcourse no helmets. I’ve seen entire families on Just one bike.
In Egypt, safety belts are just for decoration. Only the driver will put it when he’ll pass a police checkpoint. And as soon as they pass the checkpoint, the belt goes off again. Children are allowed to sit without any belt or seat in the car, it is perfectly ok to sit in the front seat aswell.
There are many more examples i could give you about the lack of safety in this country. My husband sometimes jokes about it, saying that this is how they make their children strong. But we both know it’s nothing more then ignorance. The worst part is that he and his family do exactly the same.
Like everyone else they live with the motto “it will never happen to us”. No matter how many times I warn them, they don’t listen. No matter how many videos of car crashes I show them, they won’t wear seatbelts. I can keep myself safe, I’m probability the only one in Egypt actually wearing a seatbelt. I can keep my daughter safe. But I’m not always there, she spends alot of time with her family. They take care of her when I want to rest, and I’m grateful for that.
But today I heard my fourteen months old, most of the time sits in the back of the car, alone, without a carseat or belt. I felt so angry. I cried because I felt like a bad mom for not knowing this, for letting my daughter go with them. They kept telling me “we drive slowly” and “it’s very nearby.” They obviously think they are the only one on the road, and it drives me crazy.
I’m sure everyone will tell me “don’t let them take her, don’t leave her alone with them.” But things are not that simple here in Egypt. Believe me I feel like a terrible mother. But I don’t want to make enemies of them, I want to educate them. I’ll continue doing that, and I pray one day they will see that I am right.
Just remember that over eighty years ago, people in the west were exactly the same. They didn’t know about safety and didn’t care, but they learned. Egypt is slow, mostly because the current leaders keep them behind, but I believe one day it will become better.
Pray with me.