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NL 2 EG

Dutch girl living in Egypt

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culture

Safety comes last

Asalaam aleikum wa rachmatullah wa barakatu,
I’m furious.

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.

Luxor: Day 8, going back home

A salaam aleikum wa rachmatullah wa barakatuh, 
After a week of freedom, fun and relaxation it was time to go back. Of course I missed my husband, he was supposed to be with us this week but his father didn’t want to give him a week off from work. So I was happy to see my husband again, but not to go home. Being home means sitting inside all day, rarely being able to go outside.

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Luxor: Day 7, A day trip to Aswan

Asalaamu aleikum wa rachmatullah wa barakatuh, 
Today we had another busy day, our friend suggested we’d go to Aswan. This is a city near the highdam,  it’s usually the last stop when you do a Nile cruise. I’d also been there three times before, and everytime by boat. But today we would go by car.

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Luxor: Day 6, West Bank

A salaam aleikum wa rachmatullah wa barakatuh, 
Today we had a busy day. We woke up early because we wanted to visit the west bank. I really wanted to go to Hadshepsut temple and the colossi of Memnon, to take nice vacation snaps of my baby girl, and my mom suggested to go to the Carter house because I’d never been there.

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Luxor: day 5, more shopping to do. 

A salaam aleikum wa rachmatullah wa barakatuh, 
This will be a very short post, because we didn’t do anything new today. We spend most of the day at the pool where I also tried to do some sketching. I took my sketching book with me because I wanted to make something nice for my sweetest penpal. But unfortunately I didn’t get  much chance to draw or paint. A vacation with a small child is a busy one. Every time when I wanted to sit down and sketch, she needed me for something. And when she finally slept I felt tired. So I’ll have to do my drawing when I’m back home.

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Luxor: Day 4, the overly enthusiastic waiter

A salaam aleikum wa rachmatullah wa barakatuh, 
Unlike my mom, who came back from the party at three thirty in the morning, I woke up well rested. When I asked her about the party she told me it was good that I didn’t come. It was overly crowded, it wouldn’t be much fun for me and my tired little angel. She enjoyed watching the people dance. She also enjoyed the music, although like I expected, it wasn’t the Mohamed Mounir. It turned out to be a local artist, one that the locals see as their Mounir.

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Luxor: Day 3, Shop till you drop

A salaam aleikum wa rachmatullah wa barakatuh, 
The Internet problems make it impossible for me to upload my blogs on time. 

On Sunday we had company during our breakfast, a bunch of small birds keep sitting near our table. As soon as we put some crumbs on the corner, they’d come to eat them. My little angel had much fun watching those birds. Like the say before we went for a swim in the morning and we had lunch at the pool.

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Luxor: Day 2, Pool/party

A salaam aleikum wa rachmatullah wa barakatuh,  
I apologize for the delay, we’ve got some Internet problems making it difficult to post anything. 

On Saturday we started our day at breakfast in the hotel Garden. It was very quiet,  the hotel in general is very quiet, but we were also kinda late. We selected a table in the corner, I was hoping it would make it more easy to feed my baby girl. But she was so distracted by all the new things she saw,  that she barely ate anything. After our breakfast we went back to our room, she could nap a little, because later that morning we wanted to go swimming with her.

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Luxor: Day 1, the journey 

Asalaamu aleikum wa rachmatullah wa barakatuh, 
On Friday morning, I woke up early to get myself and my little girl ready. I was still very tired because, like always, she didn’t let me sleep. Plus, I always have trouble sleeping the night before I go on vacation. Around half past seven we were all ready, waiting to be picked up to go to the airport.

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