Chapter 9 -  End of the Line

Sunday, May 30, 2010 was another slow, peaceful day.  We rushed out of bed to have breakfast around ten am at our affordable lodging hotel.     


Then we were off to visit the Egyptian Museum, which prides itself on having the greatest collection of Egyptian Antiquities anywhere in the world.  The bad news is that everyone in the world also knew about the antiquities and they were all there about the time we appeared.  Talk about crowd control!


We had an opportunity to see some sculptures that were over 50 centuries old and there was over 3,000 years of the Greaco-Roman history to see.  Many of the items from King Tut's tomb were displayed, including chariots, treasures and day to day objects.  This display reinforced the Pharaoh's desire to have their personal belongings with them for the trip to the hereafter.  The tour information suggests that the complete Museum be seen on multiple days in order to absorb all of the items displayed.  As we were leaving, we decided to visit the area set aside for "Mummy's" who were lined up in some order of their dynasties.  These did not include King Tut, but we did spend $1.67 per mummy per person to see the twelve mummies. After touring the museum we (the faithful foursome) met the twins (Barbara Perryman & Marilyn Mcspadden) at the world renown Mansion Thomas for our fifth and final time for pizza.


For some reason, Labor Day, Monday, May 31, 2010 is not celebrated very much in Cairo, Egypt.  Therefore, we chose to become tourist for one final time and close out our time with a visit to The Citadel at Cairo (look it up on the internet-it is a WOW!).  As we left our taxi and walked up the 1,500 feet from the base of a mountain to the opening of the Citadel, I thought of the majesty of the movie El Cid and the grand fortress's that existed in the late 1,100's.  I kept looking for Charlton Heston and Sopia Loren to appear, but remember that they were in Spain during this timeframe.  This mammoth structure was started in the late 1,100's with walls about 30 ft tall and 10 ft wide and a water well over 285 feet deep that was cut through solid rock in order to provide an endless supply of water for the defendants of the fortress.  The facility has been expanded by almost every ruler since the inception.  When originally built, it was a protection against the Crusaders.  This is a "must see" place when you get to travel Egypt!  Upon leaving the Citadel we drove around a huge cemetery (about four square miles) that is part of the "City of the Dead" where some very poor people live above the tombs because of shortages in housing and the fact that they have no money.  The tour guide information indicates that about 5 million (of the 20 million people in Cairo) people live above the tombs in the five largest cemeteries in Cairo.


This whole adventure to Cairo was the result of personal relationships being built over time by Rotarian J. D. Grimm and his wife, Barbara through service to others throughout Rotary District 5810 and was culminated when Gilbert & Linda Brown (East Dallas Rotary Club), Bud Carmichael & Sandy Forster (Garland rotary Club), Richard & Rozelle Gilman (Richardson Central Rotary Club), Marilyn McSpadden (Waxahachie Rotary Club), Barbara Perryman (East Dallas Rotary Club) and L. B & Donna Showalter (Plano Rotary Club) accepted the invitation to attend the wedding of Nora Awad and Charles Grimm in Cairo, Egypt May 27/29, 2010.


Now to the end of the Rotary Story.


As you may know, we Rotarians have a policy of attending another club if we miss our own club meeting.  FYI, this scribe has been in Rotary 38 years and has 38 years of perfect attendance.  Richard Gilman asked us all to attend a Rotary club meeting in Cairo by going to the Rotary Club Le Caire Champollin May 31, 2010 at 8pm for a "make up" meeting at the only "French speaking only" club in Egypt because the program was going to be in English.  They meet at the Le Pacha boat (look it up on the internet) on the Nile.  Those in attendance were PDG (Past District Governor) Gilbert & Linda Brown, Future PDG Sandy Forster & Bud Carmichael, PDG Richard & Rozell Gillman and PDG L. B. & Donna Showalter. 


The Le Caire Champollin club was chartered in 1995, has 42 French speaking members and had about 20 who were in attendance at this beautiful setting.  Their district is comprised of 9 countries, 130 clubs and about 4,300 members.  It was interesting to note that they did not start their meeting with the pledge of attendance, a prayer or a song from the good old Rotary songbook that was printed in the 1930's.  Nor did they utilize the age old tradition of "happy bucks"(bragging rights for something good that has happened), nor did the grumpy old sergeant-at-arms fine someone for not wearing their Rotary pin.   This was certainly not starting out to be the traditional Texas Rotary Club meeting!  But alas, my attitude was quickly changed.


The "French speaking only" club was having a special program in English because of the importance of the topic and the speaker did not speak French.  This club had just received awards and recognition at their District Assembly  for their participation in the age old battle against literacy.  The government acknowledges that about 25% of the people are not literate but students in school are considered to be literate, just because they are going to school and continue to progress even though they cannot read or write.  Sound something like our "no child left behind" program?  The speaker told us that about 50% of the people in Egypt cannot read and write.  This club and their District 2450 has adopted and underwritten at a cost of about $140,000 a program known as the "CLE" (Concentrated Language Encounter-look it up on the internet) method of teaching literacy for a group of 24,000 students who were not able to read.  After a year in the program all but less than 100 could read and write.   This is what Rotary does.  We see a need and address that need.  Five of our group were former or current educators and could get a good grasp of the program.  From our single district, we had three past district governor's and one future PDG get an opportunity to see the internationality of Rotary International in action just because one non-french speaking Rotarian was giving a presentation in English.


To Rotary, literacy is important throughout the world and throughout the world, Rotary is also important!


With this, I must close this series about Egypt, your scribe, lbs