Sep 11 2011

Thank You!! :)

Beco G.

I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your extreme support and generosity. I was supposed to raise a minimum of 20,000EGP. My personal target was 30,000EGP. I managed to raise..

I could not have done it without you, all of you! Everyone on this list helped in his/her way that has truly touched me and that was a bigger reason for success.

Ola Morgan
Waguih Iskander
Hania Iskander
Jenny Iskander
Nihal Elwan
Mike Cox
Alia Mossallam
Passant Abou Youssef
Yusra Badr
Yamen Elgamal
Adam Hossam El Bialy
Chaza Zekri
Karim Malaty
Nardine Gerges
Nadia Hegazy
Zeinab Khashab
Faisal Hussain
Mom
Rania El Rouby
Dina Tewfik
Nora El Shewy
Jehan Azmy
Sherif A. Wahab
Shereen Edward
Halim Akhnoukh
Radwa Mokhtar Mounib
Karim Wahba
Amira Ragy Saad
Hany Abou Leilah
Nadia El Abdin
Angela Tétreault
Ahmed Ellaithy
Sarah Youssef Hanna
Mohammed El Fadly
Sherif Mamdouh Kamel
MaryAnn Boulis
Sarah Al Mojaddidi
Alaa Khafagy
John Antonios
Fabienne Atalla
Kailash Kaliani
JP
Ahmed Helal
Sally Ghally
Peter Iskander
Rita Makram
Passent Fouad
Maryse Kaldas
Nathalie Azar
Mariam Kamel
Sarah Y
Margy Rizkalla
Rania Riad
Noha Morgan
TJ
Dalia Hashem
Heba Malaty
Nathalie Khalil
Sherif Fanous
Brigitte Khayat
Karim Sherif Fanous
Corinne Saad
Carol Kirolos
Islam Serag
Sarah Moussa
Emad Georgy
Angie Awadallah
Sara Shenouda
Irene B.
Gina Ghaffari
Maria Georgy
Youssef Assabghy

.. Nato for you I have, Rest in Peace!


Aug 15 2011

Pieces of a puzzle

Beco G.

So I’m off in exactly 15 days from today..

Flight.. Booked!

Extra accommodation.. Reserved!

Vacation request from work.. Approved!

Visa.. Applied, haven’t gotten it yet, but I’m hopeful!

Swahili.. Still learning.. So far I know some words (please – tafadhali, thank you – asante, thank very much – Asante sana, chicken – kuku, friend – rafiki, lion – simba, hello – jumba and forget about it – HAKUNA MATATA :D)! Yes, I knew watching The Lion King all those times would pay off somehow!

Gear.. Now there was an adventure! Just getting my gear was an achievement. Got my boots & pants from Dubai (thank you Irene), jacket from Abu Dhabi (thank you Sherif & Fadly), Swiss knife from Germany (thank you Sara and all your friends from Germany), back pack and socks from the US (thank you Sara again, you are awesome girl!), mittens and thermal undies from Australia (thanks bro and his lovely wife Joujou) and finally some Omega 3 supplements which were great gift from Sweden (thank you Gina)! Oh wow! Oh yeah, and I’m renting the sleeping bag and other stuff here and there from Egypt.. Talk about globalization. What gets my head going sometimes is how much preparations I have to do, while the locals over there, just get up and walk, except their walks just happen to be up the second highest peak in the world.. Kili! They go up the mountain in ragged flip-flops, and I had to fly special boots across the world!

Donations.. I won’t share how much I have reached yet, but I’m close to my personal target, I might have even broken it too.. I will share it very soon, in 15 days! The donations were my biggest surprise. It is incredible how people would like to just help out, there still are a lot of good people out there!

Like pieces of a puzzle everything is falling into place. If it’s one thing I have learnt over the course of this adventure so far is that this is true, when you want something deeply the whole world conspires for you to get it! A few pieces are left out of place, and I will find out about those on the trip itself. I will keep you posted! Stay positive!


Jul 26 2011

OOOOOW!

Beco G.

Past few weeks were really eventful, I didn’t have time to sit and think let alone write my blog. I got back from the vaccination office 2 days ago. I was all feeling drained out and drowsy. I don’t know if you remember but I was supposed to take a total of 9 shots (please refer to Oh No! Not the doctor before reading this post).. My initial estimate of shots was rounded up to a total of 9 shots (including booster shots). To say the least, I was very sadly mistaken!

Saturday, I naively woke up mentally prepared to get vaccinated with the four shots I had estimated. I’ve been preparing myself for this day for the previous two days. The first two shots passed like a breeze, how bad can an extra two shots be, right?

I had heard that some of the shots I was about to take will make me feel woozy, and might cause some reaction, such as fever or worse. I called my good friend, John Antonios, for support and just in case the worst does happen someone I know and trust can take care of me. And besides, having a familiar face around while I allow a perfect stranger to stick needles in me is always good for moral support, at least that was what I initially thought, but, I was wrong… Having John wasn’t exactly the best idea in the world. See John is a great guy and all, but at a moment of pain you need a friend that would support you and not make fun of you. And, if you have the option choose a friend that does not have a camera and is NOT an avid tweeter!

Moving on… We reached the vaccination center relatively fast. Found an awesome parking spot in the busiest street in the busiest side of town, Mohandessin. To me just the idea of going to God forsaken Mohandessin is enough to ruin any good mood. I am convinced that nothing good ever comes out of that area! To the people living there, no offence, but you know what I’m talking about! Anyways, back to my story, we reached the doc’s office at the vaccination center, and I started explaining to her what I needed. Brace yourself because it is going to sound like an order form McDonald’s. I needed, Hep A & B (one shot), Tetanus, Typhoid, Cholera, and finally Polio (which I didn’t really need because I have already taken it as a kid, but the list had it, so I had to say it). So that’s four simple shots, right? Nope!

The doc then looked at me, and I know she didn’t say it, but the look on her face said “Ha-ha you poor soul, you are going to get screwed”, but what she actually said was “We don’t have Hep A & B in one shot, you are going to have to two different shots”. Before I could even sugar coat that horrible piece of news, she then said with an envious grin “And you need to take that Polio shot too”! I tried to smile, but couldn’t find my bottom jaw because it was on the floor! I had to add 4and 2 so many times, because I didn’t really grasp the idea of having to take SIX FREAKIN SHOTS in my head. John helped out in easing the pain and the news by laughing hysterically! He got his iphone out and pointed it right at me!

My head still couldn’t wrap itself around having to take six shots, until I saw the nurse prepare those SIX shots right in front of my very eyes. I don’t think she was a nurse, I think she was a more of a mechanic or a butcher that decided to get into nursing. Those hands were BRUTAL! I think she only stopped pushing the needle in until she felt the bone! I started to sweat.. John started to take pictures, tweet and annoy the mechanic, I mean nurse. She then uttered two really horrible words.. “Look away”! I couldn’t, but I had to.

The first shot went in smooth. The second went in not so smooth. The third shot felt like it was spending the night! The nurse then said, “your other arm please”. I just looked at her, I can’t really explain the look on my face, because it was a very vivid combination of a 10 year old kid coming back from school to find that his dog just died, and a gangster raising his weapon in pure fury! I asked if I could take all six shots in one arm. She smirked and said no, John fell because he couldn’t stand straight anymore, and I just… well… cried!

She was also really comforting. She said “the first three shots are going to hurt later. The next three shots are going to hurt NOW”. Its like she had it all planned out! The first, oh sorry, I meant fourth shot went in with a nasty sting. The fifth shot went in ordered some drinks, got wasted, got into a bar fight, picked a hooker, finished its business and went out. Needless to say it hurt! I really didn’t feel like having another one, but I had to, I didn’t feel like driving to freaking Mohandessin again either! God I hate Mohandessin! Nurse then asked “ok, are you ready for the last one, because this is going to hurt the most”! I’m not sure, but I think the people passing by started to make bets on whether or not I was going to start tearing. Took the news like a man, sort of, and just waved a “give it to me” gesture. She wasn’t kidding! That last shot REALLY hurt!

I went to the head doctor, to get my certificate, and she laid the news on me! She said “we’ll be seeing in a month for the booster shots” with a nice cute smile. And here is what I didn’t know. Hep A & B are divided into three shots each, I don’t remember what the other two were, but they have one more booster shot each. So that is a total of six more shots to go! So far I’ve taken EIGHT shots (one I didn’t need but took out fear of being abducted by Frankenstein’s heir) and I still have to take the booster shots. That’s a total of FOURTEEN SHOTS!! WHYY?

Side Thought – I hope they don’t read this blog before i return to them for those booster shots!!!


Jul 14 2011

For you I will..

Beco G.

I’ve thought a zillion times before starting to write this post. I simply don’t know what to write. I’m going through a really tough time these days. I lost a very good friend of mine last Sunday.. God I hate Sundays! I was going to use this blog to vent my anger, depression and feelings to what had happened. But then I thought, Nato wouldn’t have wanted that! I wasn’t going to let Nato’s life and meaning go to waste! I was NOT going to allow her life on Earth to fade away like she never existed, I would hate that happening to me. Nato was the type of person who would allow herself to be down only long enough to gather enough energy and strength to stand up stronger with more will and energy to go forth. She would gracefully stand up, smile, tie her hair back, and start moving forward like nothing had happened, like noting could stand in her way. And 9 out of 10 times nothing could stand in her way. I thought instead of wallowing on her death, why not cherish her life, and see how she had managed to touch and change my life.

I learnt a few things from Nato, that I never shared with anyone before. Nato had a statement on her Gtalk status, that I will never forget. “If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.” It was because that statement I landed my current job. I was asked to send my CV, and I was a bit skeptical of sending my traditional resume. Like it was meant to be, Nato came online that moment, and I read her status. I presented my CV in a way I never had, and during the interview I did everything I never did in interviews before! Don’t worry I didn’t make a fool of myself, obviously!

I’m known for always saying the wrong and most awkward jokes at the completely wrong and most awkward times. We usually would be casually sitting around with friends, and something would happen, that would be a great opportunity for a really mean bad quirky joke to crack. As I inhale to take a breath to start saying something she would look at me from across the room, smile and nod her head in a no. She might not know what I was about to say, but she knows it was going to be bad. We would just make eye contact and laugh it off!

Nato you have always been a symbol of positive energy, grace and perfection. I know they say that no one is perfect, but I also know they have not met you! You have not just taught me that there isn’t an obstacle too big to break but you showed me, and you did it so gracefully it seemed so easy. You were all for doing the impossible and making dreams happen. Nato, you will always live in our hearts and memories and because of everything you were and everything you still are in our hearts, Nato, I am dedicating this climb to you.

I herewith declare that I am climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in tribute to the memory of the precious Nathalie Atalla. Rest in Peace.

PS: I did not change my cause for this climb, I simply added a personal inspiration and determination to reach up there. Please click here to find out how you can contribute too.


Jul 6 2011

Its long.. but worth it!

Beco G.

Here is a tip, whenever a blog starts with “Here is a funny story!” it sure is going to be interesting!

Soo.. Here is a funny story!

As we reached the top of Mount Catherine, we left the guide and the camel collecting firewood to prepare the campsite and our well-deserved meal and sleep! We climbed up those last few meters where the deserted chapel is. Before bolting up to the top, the guide pointed to where the campsite will be. Little did he know that on a mountaintop to the simple city slicker EVERYTHING looks the same! We were too exhausted and too excited to even listen to what he had to say. We had a goal, and our goal was to reach the top before the sun sets. Those last few meters are of man made rocky steps taking a semi circle or a curve up, talk about a total directional screw up. One side of the step was coming out of the mountain, and the other side is straight plummet down! It’s not really as dangerous as it sounds, but you have to imagine because this next part is the entertaining part. We have achieved our goal and managed to reach before the sunset. After a 3.5 hour hike, we stayed up there and took our sweet time! We took pictures, said stories, got dazzled by the out of this world scenery, and congratulated each other on making it. Here is what we didn’t have in mind! After any sunset.. IT GETS DARK!

Suddenly it hit us.. It was getting dark(er) really fast! There was no moon to even shed some light, which was alright because the view was stunning! One said “Ok guys bring out your torches”. A state of confusion suddenly set on us, it was as if we started talking in a different language. Torches? We need those in a camp? Luckily we had 1.5 torches, 1.5 because my torch’s batteries were dying out.

It is pitch black now and it’s getting colder. We couldn’t see anything except for shimmering light on the horizon which was another city kilometers away. Hani & I the lead our little convoy with our little lights. We held each other’s hands to make it safely down. I am sure you know that after any physically straining activity for a prolonged period of time, your muscles eventually give you the finger! And that’s what happened! But we couldn’t stop, we HAD to move on. Each step down was more frightening than the step before it, not to mention more painful. A very smart question was proposed by one of us.. “Where did he say the campsite was?” An awkward silence followed by hysterical laughter… No bearings what so ever! No sign of life! NOTHING WAS VISIBLE, except 2 light circles on the ground from our flashlights. The fire was not up yet, so we couldn’t even see that light (just in case you were wondering).

We shouted out for our guides. Not a second later a reply came back.. And another.. and another… It was our echo! It came back from every direction! We continued on our course downwards hoping to see any glimmering light of our guides. Another smart question popped out “Are you sure we are going in the right direction?”. Another wave of laughter swept over us! But we continued the course. One of us then said “Yeah I remember the guide pointing that direction” and he pointed to the same direction we were marching! Although no one said anything, but the thought “You better be right because I’m not going up this damn mountain again” was in all our heads.

Here is the funny thing about echoes.. They are a lot of fun in daylight. In darkness it is a whooole different terrifying story! We kept calling out for the guides, and our echoes would reply and we would then go into debate of whose voice was that. Another funny thing about echoes, they don’t sound the same! We still marched! We decided to have one person call out ONE thing and wait for replies.

A few minutes later, a faint different response came back. Yet another funny thing about echoes, they come from every direction, you can never tell where the original source is. We froze to the ground and held our breaths to try to figure out where it was coming from. Naturally we looked in every direction except one.. Backwards!

It was as if we were on que, we all looked shocked and at each other and looked back. And there it was, a tiny spec of waving light! Oh did I only say back, we also had to look up to see it! A third wave of laughter swept over the five of us. This one was different, we couldn’t stand up from the laughter. We couldn’t breathe because we were laughing so hard, and at that altitude you already had some trouble breathing just standing up. A lot of words were said that I won’t be at liberty to repeat, but of all the words, this was said the most. And was rightfully an A7a moment! (pronounced aha)

The laughter ended, and we expect the candid camera to come from ANYWHERE, coz we felt the joke was on us. We just stood there wondering what to do? We were so tired to move, let alone climb again! And that waving light was TINY! HOW FAR IS HE? We fruitlessly tried to convince them to come down to us, but that didn’t work. It was time to pucker up and start moving again! Moving up, we could not believe what had just happened. It was one of those events that a whole group consciously decides to forget it ever happened! I bet they didn’t think I would blog about it.

Every step was an agonizing curse, but we marched. That waving light wasn’t getting any bigger at all. It was really annoying. How far did we hike down? We couldn’t have possibly moved that fast. A few minutes have passed, and still that light hasn’t grown bigger, we weren’t getting closer. For a second I wondered if were actually moving at all. Suddenly, our guide clearly said “Welcome” and he was physically right there! How the hell did he come down so fast, or how did we get up there that fast. Turned out he used the LED bulb on his mobile which was tiny in the first place, and gave us the impression that he was far away! I mean honestly if he was standing right there, why didn’t he say anything!?

We arrived safely and finally to our campsite! Had a blast of a laugh and crashed under a sea of stars. We couldn’t believe what had happened. But, today, it makes a good story and a really long blog post :)


Jul 5 2011

Mt. Catherine’s Hike – 1

Beco G.

I just got back from hiking up Mt. Catherine in Sinai with 4 of my friends. A common misconception, St. Catherine’s Monastery is atop Mt. Musa (aka Mt. Sinai) and not Mt. Catherine. Mt. Catherine is the highest peak in Egypt (at 2,629 m above sea level). I’ve been there before some few years back. I remember taking on that mountain in 7+ hours with rests almost every 45 minutes or so. Back then I reached the camping site, and couldn’t be bothered to go up those last few meters to the top of the mountain, (where the chapel is). Now that I’m in a better shape, I was really curious on how long I’d take on that mountain.

We took that mountain on in 3.5 hours, with virtually no rests, and this time I reached the peak! I was not pushing my limits, I just didn’t feel like stopping until I reached the top! The Bedouins living there could do it in 2 hours. So the extra 1.5 hours does not seem so bad for a city slicker like me. The hike was about 8km uphill, which according to the Bedouins is the equivalent of 17km on a horizontal plane! During the hike, I was too busy to think about being tired. Each bend had something more beautiful than the one before.

We reached the summit just in time to watch the sun set. What was different about this sunset, was that we were looking DOWN at it, not in an arrogant disgusted way, we were actually ABOVE the sunset! I don’t think I can conjure up any words that could describe what I saw or how I felt, so I’m just going to skip this part. The sun had set and it was time to camp.

We spent the night under a HUGE blanket of stars, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many stars in my life. In a terrain like that what really impresses you is how quite it could get. In a nutshell, I sometimes had a hard time sleeping because my heart was pumping so loud! At a point I wished it would just stop for a minute for me to enjoy the perfect sound of pure silence. But I didn’t really do that, because it wouldn’t have made a difference since the person sleeping next to me (no names) was snoring! And not just any snoring! On inhale, it sounded like you are vacuuming marbles or grinding nut bolts, and on exhale it sounded like a tractor starting up. In a place where a passing fly sounds like an F16 breaking mach3, well, you could imagine what snoring right in your ear could sound like!

This simple 2-day hike just showed me how incredible and simple life could be. After the hike was over, nothing, and I mean nothing felt better than that shower! It was simply life changing! Not to over do the drama, and the over flow of emotions, I will end this blog right here and continue with more details tomorrow!


Jun 30 2011

A will… A way!

Beco G.

Woah.. It’s been a really long time since I wrote something on my blog. I have to apologize for that. I was hunting! Well, it wasn’t really hunting, it was more like finding Atlantis, or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Needless to say, neither were successful.. So what was I really looking for? I was looking for hiking gear, shoes, socks, zip off pants, etc. for my ultimate hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro. I broke down my needs from most important to least important. At the top of the list were hiking boots. I went to almost every store in Cairo searching for hiking boots. I found one or two suitable shoes, but not hiking boots. I know what you guys are probably thinking, did he try CAT & Timberland stores? Sadly, Yes I have, in Egypt those brands are known as fashion stores rather than extra terrain activities stores, which really sucks and is quite ironic.

So, I was not going to give up just because Egypt was not blessed with enough adventure stores. What can I say? The fates never put in mind the power of human will. And besides this is a HAPPY story. After fruitlessly scouring Cairo for any hiking gear, I gave up and I asked my partner in crime Irene to get me some hiking gear with her from Dubai! She got me a pair of Columbus Men’s Daska Pass™ Omni-Tech™ along with some other hiking gear (at discounted prices, too). Irene is hiking up Mt. Kili with me in August and is the reason and source of encouragement I’m on this trip in the first place! THANK YOU IRENE, YOU ARE AWESOME, GIRL!

I decided to be a bit adventurous this week and take a trip to my favorite place in the world, Sinai! And since I’m in hiking mode, might as well hike up Mount Catherine this weekend. Mt. Catherine is the highest point in Egypt at 2,629m above sea level. For one give me some hiking experience, two enjoy the tranquility, and three break in my new hiking boots!

The reason I did not order these boots online was because I did not know what shoe size I should get. Each brand and make have their unique sizing system. I also had to bear in mind that my feet will swell during the hike, and that at some point as I go higher I will have to wear 3 or 4 season socks (which is about as thick as a finger) to keep my feet from losing toes in the freezing weather. So, with all that in mind, and not having a reference was a bit challenging and confusing. Seeing that I was stuck and going no where in Cairo I decided to take a leap of faith and just order the shoes without trying them on (kids do not try this, doesn’t work all the time and there is a good reason why moms jiggle those pants at the store)! Luckily, the shoes fit perfectly and my estimates were spot on! But now I can’t find hiking socks.. Suggestions? ☺


Jun 19 2011

It’s a Journey not a Destination

Beco G.

The beauty of life is falling 9 times and standing up 10! I don’t really know who said it, but I heard it from Paulo Coelho. It is always a statement I tell myself when nothing is going my way or when I’m down in the muck! I am the type of person who refuses to succumb to circumstances especially if they jeopardize my goal. I trust that if you believe something strong enough or deep enough, the world will help you achieve it! So I don’t mind hanging just that tad bit longer to reach my goal. Some people consider it stubbornness, for all I know they might be right, but NOTHING tastes better or sweeter than getting what you rightfully earned! And for that I don’t mind being called anything.

Something happened on Thursday (16/6/11) that almost killed my initiative. I won’t go through it in details but it had something to do with my fundraising. It was pretty grand, and was no one else’s fault but my own. I spent the whole Thursday evening twisting and churning my head to find solutions to my devastation. But I didn’t get anywhere. It drove me crazy, and I in turn drove my whole family nuts. I can’t thank God enough for blessing me with such a supporting family. I gave myself Thursday to wallow in my pity, depression and hopelessness with the promise that Friday comes and I will stand on my feet again, by hook or crook! I had a goal to achieve, and I could overcome this hiccup, more like a heart attack, somehow.

I’ve heard but never really understood the phrase “the beauty of giving” until these days! I have given to charity before, but found no particular beauty in it. Don’t get me wrong I have donated with a full heart, but what I felt was not enough to create a statement for. I never really had that statement in mind until these days. Before starting this whole ordeal I compiled a list of 150 names or so of friends that would be willing to give for the cause. According to my calculations and predictions, the amount I have gathered thus far should have scratched at least 30 names off of my list. To my surprise I have received generous donations from people who were NOT on the list, and are less than 15 people! I have met new people who got just as excited about this as I or my close friends did. I got some people who thanked me for letting them be a part of this. I have others just waiting to do something to help out in anyway.

Friday and Saturday managed to get me back on my feet and in full throttle. I had super exceeded my daily collections targets, got to meet up with new people, and got to meet old friends that I had lost contact with. As much time and effort as this challenge is draining out of me, every second that passes only feels sweeter, yet preparing for the final result!

That disastrous issue that crept up on me on Thursday, COMPLETELY resolved itself Sunday morning! Like it never happened! Just goes to show how far a little faith (and maybe some stubbornness) can take you!


Jun 15 2011

If You Build It, They Will Come!

Beco G.

No, I’m not here to talk about Kevin Costner’s “Field of Dreams”.. Something happened the other day that really touched me deep inside. Ever since I took this challenge, nothing worried me more than reaching my target in donations (20,000 egp). If ’10 has taught me anything, it taught me to just start whatever I wanted to do and not over analyze/think and results will show later. That “take action now, think later” mentality helped shed some light on what the hell “If you build it they will come” meant. Simply, if you do anything, something will happen. As not to drift away from the point of this story, here is what happened.

I was at my regular visit to my cousin’s house. My cousin has a pair of twin girls who are to die for; I absolutely love them. I refer to them as my “Baby Cousins”, I don’t care how old they get, I will always refer to them as my “Baby Cousins”. They are 11 now. Some family members and probably my baby cousins (as they are avid followers of me on facebook) may read this blog so I’m not going to share names. Anyways, I was sitting in my cousin’s living room chatting with her and getting updates here and there. I could tell that one of the girls was fidgeting, waiting for an opportunity to blurt out tell me something. She couldn’t hold it any longer and just asked me about this blog I had on facebook and something to do with a mountain. I could tell she was having a tough time pronouncing it’s name. “Kilimanjaro” I said. Her face glowed, and said “YES! That one!” I took her on my lap and started telling her all the interesting facts about Mount Kilimanjaro an 11 year old would find interesting. After getting her full and undivided attention I went on explaining the cause of this challenge, the awareness and the donations I am trying to raise and how it will benefit mentally challenged people.

She pretty much grasped the idea. I also shared with her my concerns on how this challenge demands physical and mental abilities that could be a tad above what I had. I also told her about how I might not be able to reach my target, and how I would see that as a failure! I must say kids are so damn smart these days! HER main concern was the effects lack of oxygen will have on me at that height. At that age all that occupied my mind was conjuring up a plan to blow my sister’s Barbie doll’s heads off. Sorry sis… Note to Sis: Ken was like that when I found him! Anyways, the Kilimanjaro topic was over. My cousin and I went on with our chit chats. I stayed there a couple of hours, until we both ran out of conversation. It was time for me to leave. I don’t know if you are familiar with Egyptians, but I can tell you this much, no matter what you do you will never stay long enough or eat enough. So as my cousin and I had that tango of “stay longer, and no I can’t I have to go” dance. My baby cousin got in on the action too. She asked “why do you have to go”. I told her I had to go get the flag I’m taking up with me to Kili and other errands I had to finish. She then innocently asked how much that flag costs. I really didn’t know, and frankly the price of the flag was the least of my concerns. So I said in passing “twenty pounds”. I didn’t even finish that statement, she ran to the cupboard as fast as fast as she could, grabbed her little Velcro wallet and got out a twenty-pound bill. She said “I want to pay for that flag”! Needless to say her mother and I stood there in awe!

As simple as her donation was, it is by far the most special, and the grandest gesture I’ve seen. I haven’t reached my target yet (not even close) but hey with a gesture like that as my first donation, how bad can it be? Simply, goes to show you. Just begin whatever you want and random events along the way will pop out on your course to help you out. To honor my baby cousin, I bought the flag, and had her be the first one to write on it. Later that day both girls gave me donations making them the FIRST TWO TO DONATE!


Jun 12 2011

Oh no.. Not the Doctor

Beco G.

Alright! So, I’m usually NOT ok with the idea of some stranger sticking anything in me (ok so I might have to rephrase that). What a way to start a blog entry, huh? What I meant to say was I do not like getting vaccinated. I’m not entirely at ease with needles but, when the time calls for it, I usually take it like a constipated man!

I had to mentally prepare myself for this challenge because it was not just one, or two, or three needles I had to worry about; they were 6 different vaccines (and some require booster shots so it makes them x2). I had to take a Yellow Fever shot (x1), Hep A&B (x2), Typhoid (x2), Tetanus (x2), Cholera (x1 I think) and Polio (which I think I already got). So that is a total of about NINE SHOTS! FUN, right?

Life has taught me several lessons. No matter who you are, never ever piss off the person that serves your food. Another lesson I sort of grabbed on the go was to be EXTRA nice to the ugly hairy almost manly nurse that is about to stick a sharp object into you. Just in case you have not dealt with Egyptian nurses, I was being extra sweet and sugar coaty.

My story starts here! I reached the vaccination office quite easily. I found a parking spot just as easily, too, and the queue was not long, almost empty actually! It was just perfect! Yeah I know it sounds like I was not Egypt, right? So I casually walk in to the “Africa Department” to get the shots related to Africa. There, I see a sweet lady reading the papers and another veiled grouchy looking wrinkly-faced lady staring into my soul! I gulped and thought to myself, how bad can this be? Naturally I went to the sweet lady, and before I said anything, without even raising her head, she pointed to the doctor. You can guess which one that was.

I casually told her what I wanted and then I heard the shock of my life. It wasn’t what she said that bothered me, it was how she said it! She opened her mouth to talk and she sounded like a man! Not just any man, and I’m not kidding or exaggerating here but “she” sounded like the Lebanese singer George Wassouf! If you don’t know who he is or heard him before, good luck! She was quite helpful actually, but she was also scary looking and sounded possessed! She said that they do not have any of the vaccines I asked for, except for Yellow Fever and Meningitis. She then ordered the sweet looking lady on her right to have me vaccinated for both.

I had to check my list like 6 times. I know Meningitis was not in my list, and I did not want to be the world’s life sized voodoo doll. So, respectfully, I said Meningitis is not on my list, and I think that’s when time stopped moving! She raised her head up at me, and explained how Meningitis can kill a human being in less than 24 hours. See, that would have been normal for a doctor to explain, but you have to imagine a grouchy looking, wrinkly-faced lady that sounds like George Wassouf explaining it. Add some thunder sounds in the background and you can star in your very own horror movie! Needless to say, I could not refuse taking the extra shot from Frankenstein’s heir.

It’s shot time! A third lady nurse, I’m not even going to begin to describe her, with 3 eerie looking metal boxes walked into the room. I tried not to look but couldn’t help it when she called out my name. I walked up to her, and I think she was smiling. She commented on how her son and I shared the same name. I thought it was comforting until I saw her clench her fist! I was kind of confused as to what should I react to, that statement or her body language. Before I said anything, she asked me to turn around and not look. That never sounds good in any context! She then gave me both shots in the back of my arm. To my surprise I did not feel a thing! When it comes to getting shots I must say and admit she had the softest hands I’ve been around.

I got my shots, yes I didn’t get all the shots I wanted and I got out with an extra shot, but at the end of the day safety comes first! Sounds anti climactic, what did you expect? A Wes Craven story? This is real life buddy, and it was good day!