Excited to touch, smell, and most of all see the Motherland, in 2005 I participated in an educational excursion to Egypt. It was amazing! We (my life mate and about a dozen other graduate students from Texas Woman’s and North Texas Universities) visited the cities of Cairo, Alexander, and of course Giza to experience the Sphinx and the Pyramids – two of the great wonders of the world! By guided tour, we visited museums learning of the many ancient Egyptian artifacts that lay at the bedrock of our civilization. Seeing every piece of King Tut’s tomb on display was a highlight of the museum tour. We visited bazaars and bought unique papyrus paintings and authentic alabaster sculptures. In Alexander, I even waded in the Mediterranean Sea and had the best seafood of my life! Taking in all the 5,000 year old culture is what made this experience the trip of a lifetime!
On one of our may bus rides within the city of Cairo, I remember our tour guide telling us to turn our attention to the “City of the Dead,” Cairo’s oldest necropolis where the living eat, work, and live with the dead. As we zoomed by on the highway, I looked over at the flat top buildings. It really did not look like any cemetery I had ever seen before. The cemeteries I had visited were grassy spaces with identifiable headstones and trees signaling the restful ambiance. But here, within the busy city of Cairo stood a large, ancient burial ground where people, for one reason or another, decided to call home. At the time, I wondered how people could live in a cemetery! How could a person and whole families live next door to the dead? How could one break bread knowing that within a stone’s throw there were coffins and skeletons? How could someone actually live and breathe among the dead and lifeless? [Continue Reading...]