Note before reading:
When i began to write this, i had in mind to share my experience but while writing, i just kept going from one subject to another. i'll try to arrange all in points. also i didn't think i'll write all that, so i hope u'll have enough patience to read it till the end :).
How it all began with me?
first time i went, it was in 2002. my brother (at that time still at school), with a group of friends, volunteered with caritas. there were different groups of volunteers, each with different volunteer work or task, and they choose that, going to abou zaabal with a group from belgium.
Who are the belgium group?
every year, for about more than 10 years, a group of about 15 volunteers come to egypt in july to work in abou zaabal. the association behind this is called Fondation Damien. this foundation is to fight against leprosy and tuberculose and help the countries in development. (i'll write later about this foundation).
Information about the place:
it is situated in abou zaabal in the Qalyoubeya governorat. it takes about an hour to go there from cairo.
the facility includes: 3 different locations, in the U form. the central (main) is in the base (for men), one for the men and the 3rd for the women.
the ministry of health supervises it, there r nurses working there and sisters (nons) also supervising the place, they go and return every day.
in each of the locations, there are either rooms, for 2 or 3 persons or big chamber, dormitory, with beds (3anbar or dortoir).
also outside this place, there's a center for kids younger than age of school (3-6 years old) and it is run by Caritas. and in this center, there's also lessons for girls (older) to learn trico and sewing and to learn reading and writing.
What we do there?
the belge group, most of them are studying nursing or medicine, they go to the people and help the nurses there. at the same time, every year there's a paiting project. this year we painted a dormitory (ceiling and walls). one year, last year, we painted 2 rooms of external clinics, the year before classes at the center, and the year before the walls of this center.
also for 2 days during the working period, we make some animations for the children: for example this year, teaching them how to brush their teeths, wash their face and hair, or doing some games.. it depends.
well i guess now that you have a brief overview about the location, it will be easier to follow up.
the first time i went, i was a little afraid as anyone does when he faces a new thing, but not cos of the people there or the desease (though i didn't know much about the details).
anyway i was surprised, how the people there treat the belge, and how the belge treat them. i mean it is not their country, they pay for this to come and serve, i was really touched and impressed. they give them hugs and kisses, it was first strange for me to do that, but i get used to it and this grew from year to year, i feel that i like it and enjoy my time, the people there remembers me, sometimes they forget my name, but they remember me.
people there are simple people, rejected by the society. sometimes u can hear them shouting and fighting, but i guess this is normal between neighbours and deep inside they love each other.
they like when foreigners come, they feel that someone cares about them, that they leave everything to come for them.
as for the children in the center, they love it. they are very excited especially when someone takes their photo, they shout with the flash.
i can't describe all my feelings, but i learned a lot from there and i appreciate every moment i passed, the friendships i made, the people i met and i wish i can participate again.
that's all i can say now.. i'll try to post later about small things that happened and that touched me somehow.
thanks for ur patience.