(this photo is not from today, it was someone's sleeping nook on the side of the street when we were out tourisiting *not a word* in old Cairo)
Today we drove to one of Cairo's suburbs to check out a child friendly store to buy the girls homeschooling supplies-- we are now the proud owners of a child size easel.
On our way there, driving through mountains of crushed rocks, concrete and skeletons of new developments. In the blistering sun, we saw shacks built out of cardboards and loose bricks, tents built out of plastic trash bags, and a single sleeping space surrounded by straw crates and covered with rags to protect the napper from the glistening sun. I could tell there was someone resting in this horizontal space because his feet were peeking out. These guys/families are the workers or caretakers of a pile of rocks. The builders will spend hundreds of thousands of pounds for their new developments and wont provide their caretakers a decent shelter.
A couple of hours later after buying said easel and settling in for which coffee shop to stop at, I found myself frowning and almost ripping off a small piece of fabric atop my head (my hijab) and running in the coffee shop's indoors seating area, welcoming the cool breeze of fake, stuffy air and the smell of cigarette smoke (Mind you I was sitting under a giant umbrella waiting to get served a cool overpriced mint/lemon slushy.)
My cleaning lady is the wife of the doorman (like a security guard) of a fancy big building at the corner of our street. The building is almost finished, they've been guarding the building ever since it was an empty lot and an idea on paper. Five years ago when I last lived, they (the doorman, his wife and his then four kids--they are now six kids) lived in a hand built (by them) little shack made out of stacked bricks (no cement to hold the bricks together) and ripped cardboard boxes for a ceiling. They still live in that same old shack, and when I asked my cleaning lady if the owner will build them a small room under the stairs or in the garage(the tradition), she said, he's been promising for years now...
I am grateful for shelter, for air conditioners and for a whole lot more.
Alhamdulilah for his blessings.