Friday, 2 August 2013

Sweaty and Sleepless in South Egypt

Productivity seems to come in spurts here.  One day we are able to accomplish at least one or two things and we're doing the happy dance.  On other days, we count the grains of sand for entertainment.  Yesterday was one of those days.  We are continually trying to predict when a store will be open during Ramadan hours.  This wouldn't be difficult except that regular hours of operation aren't regular…ever.

John says, "We should leave at 11 am because that will give us time to go by the mattress store and pick up pillows and then onto the grocery store." (We currently had 1 egg in the fridge and Ramen noodles on the shelf.)

"Sounds like a plan to me."  

We were almost ready to walk out the door when our friend Yusef* called to let us know that the couch we bought from him would be delivered any moment.  We put our keys and sunglasses down and waited.  Around 45 minutes later, the delivery guys arrived with one large purple couch.  (It is very comfortable, therefore, color does not matter.)

After it was put into place and goodbyes were made, we realized we had missed our window for open stores.  Ramen noodles for lunch.  Our next opportunity would be at 9 pm that night.  John began working on a new website design and I busied myself with laundry.

As the evening wore on, the electricity went out.  John and I sat in the dark pouring sweat wondering if we should still go out.  Our neighborhood was completely black and we thought it not prudent to go walking through it until we know the streets better.  I ate half an egg and went to bed instead. (I still had battery on my electronic reader.)

I took a cold washrag and draped it on my face waiting for a breath of air to move.  Nothing.  I describe myself in these moments as "a burning ball of fury."  Ironically, I do NOT like to be hot.  I am not a summer person.  I prefer Autumn and Winter.  Like I said, ironic.  Thankfully, the electricity came on after a couple hours and the hum of the A/C was going to lull me to sleep.

Just as I begun to doze off, the imams from the mosques located on either side of our apartment began their evening sermons.  After all, they hadn't had electricity either and they would not be denied.  So off they went…on and on…louder and louder…with reverb.  As I listened to John mutter suggestions for ways to improve their sound system, I began to mutter other things.

I hate sweating.  I don't want to be awake.  Can't these guys work out a compromise and alternate sermon times rather than compete?!  I can't sleeeeeeeeep!!!!!! [Insert thrashing.]

Soon loud people were out in the streets, donkeys were braying and a man selling hot sauce began his yelling advertisement.

I was about to work myself up into a full blown pout when I thought I heard John say something.  "What did you say?" I asked.

He said, "Oh, I wasn't talking to you right now.  I was praying for our neighbors."

My wonderful husband.  My wonderful, saintly, selfless husband decided to use his waking hours to pray blessing on our soon-to-be friends.

"Oh, yeah…Good idea," I said sheepishly.

I pulled out my Bible and began to pray:

God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
    There are no boundaries to his greatness.

Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
    each one tells stories of your mighty acts.

Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;
    [John] composes songs on your wonders.

Your marvelous doings are headline news;
    I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.

May the fame of your goodness spread across [Egypt and Sudan];
    your righteousness is on everyone’s lips.

God is all mercy and grace—
    not quick to anger, is rich in love.

God is good to one and all [Egyptians and Sudanese];
    everything he does is suffused with grace.

Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
    your holy people bless you.

They talk about the glories of your rule,
    they exclaim over your splendor,

Letting [our friends] know of your power for good,
    the lavish splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal;
    you never get voted out of office.

God always does what he says,
    and is gracious in everything he does.

God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
    gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.

All eyes are on you, expectant;
    you give them their meals on time.

Generous to a fault,
    you lavish your favor on all creatures.

Everything God does is right—
    the trademark on all his works is love.

God’s there, listening for all who pray,
    for all who pray and mean it.

He does what’s best for those who fear him—
    hears them call out, and saves them.

God sticks by all who love him,
    but it’s all over for those who don’t.

My mouth is filled with God’s praise.
    Let everything living bless him,
    bless his holy name from now to eternity!


Today's BOGO Blog:  Mapping

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, Father is awesome.
    And I totally recall the "ball of fury" nights. Very hot, very sticky, and I know you hate them, but you're doing an awesome job! Your blood will thin out soon, and then you'll be able to wear parkas like the locals. :)