Monthly Archives: October 2003

Bus ride banter – Eilat, Israel

The bus left at 1230am and I found myself seated next to a Israeli soldier who was tucking his gun into the handle of the seat in front of him. We chatted for awhile and I discovered he was from a town called Carmel. Haha. I asked him if he knew why the bus driver and some of the surrounding passengers had laughed at me when I said my name was Carmella. He told me this may be because my name is an Iraqi name.
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Doin Diddlysquat in Dahab – Dahab, Egypt

After about an hour of nothing but desolate desert terrain dotted with the occasional seaside development, we pulled into Dahab. My first taste of Egypt was very stereotypical with landscapes of neverending sand and dust with the heat rippling up distorting the lines into something from a sci-fi movie. And it wasn’t even 9am yet.
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Looking over the sea at Saudi Arabia – Dahab, Egypt

I was having great fun hanging around just soaking up the thick loungyness of Sinai. Even tho everyone was going snorkeling and diving I really didn`t feel the need. The conditions weren`t optimal and I am pretty sure I will be back. This was just a quick stop on the way to Cairo but I could see how some can get stuck here for weeks or months.
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Scaling Mount Sinai – Sinai, Egypt

After our charming dinner, I headed off to make some last minute travel inquiries before we had to shove off at 11pm. Kelly and I armed with our frozen (doesn`t stay frozen long even at night) water and hiking shoes, jumped into the van for the two hour drive to Mt Sinai. I tried to sleep but my head kept bouncing off Kelly`s shoulder and hitting the window as the kamikaze driver barreled around the tight turns.
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I`ll be back – Cairo, Egypt

I am not sure when I started feeling bad but as I got progressively worse throughout the morning. The sun was beating down and it was hot and dusty. I chatted with two new friends, one Israeli and one Egyptian, on either side of me about how it was to grow up in this part of the world.

After the climb back down (I opted for the Camel Trail for a change), we visited the monastery where you could look at the burning bush. Lots of people were grabbing at a branch and getting their picture taken. I was surprised at how huge this bush was but then I guess its had quite a long time to grow. read more

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The Volunteer – Nairobi, Kenya

Last year I disappeared for a couple months from writing on Travelpod. I had decided to do some volunteer work in Africa and thought it would be better for me to focus my energies completely on the task at hand. I kept a journal but never posted anything online because I figured that it would take some time to really process this intense experience. As it is, I believe it will be something I will probably “processing” for the rest of my life. I have decided to post excerpts from my daily diary.
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Arrival – Nairobi, Kenya

As we drove from the airport to the orphanage, I remembered the smells and sounds of Nairobi. The battered shacks on the sides of the road selling everything from pineapples to tires. The torn and tattered rags that the vendors wore. The black smoke coming from almost all the cars exhaust pipes. The endless amount of trash littering the sides of the bumpy broken roads. read more

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The First Day of Class – Nairobi, Kenya

Woke up early and ate oatmeal which I made in my room (remember, I sleep in the kitchen area). They have an announcement and prayer time every morning that I guess I am supposed to attend, altho no really told me. They introduced me to everyone and I had to say a few words about myself. I realized that I don`t know the proper order in which Catholics cross themselves. Is it forehead, left shoulder, then right then…anyway, I also don`t know the words they recite so I just kind of stood there looking around. After the prayer, I went back to my room to get ready for the class. read more

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Bedtime Stories – Nairobi, Kenya

So then I ate lunch which was a funny green vegetable that I had never tasted before but was something like kale and a spongy foam looking tasteless bread called ugali. It was time for a nap. I was knackered. They really took it out of me but more my mental and emotional state couldn’t take anymore for the time being. read more

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With a little help – Nairobi, Kenya

Today I woke and meditated which is something I am trying to get in the habit of now. When I arrived to class I got a surprise because hooray! there was Janet! She has been volunteering here for a while and the kids listen to her. She showed me where the workbooks were and had them doing letters and numbers. Altho I did notice that she practices no tolerance. At the first sign of trouble….Michael was gone in the first 3 minutes. Then 3 more were off to their cottages. No wonder! She gets rid of the trouble makers right in the beginning but still I admired that she had control over them. I suppose it also helps to know their language. I was a bit lost and stood there dumb because I really couldn’t understand anything she was saying them. read more

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