Thursday, 31 March 2011

This morning I got up at 9:30am (after going to bed at 4am) to go back and volunteer with the Afghans at the Egyptian Hospital. The women’s days are Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and although I likely cannot make every day since I need to get some sleep, I knew I couldn’t make this coming Sunday as we have a team meeting at 6am which would leave me with only two hours of sleep! I went to the office and got a ride with one of my teammates out to the hospital where I got the opportunity to meet the American Ph.D who runs the program. She is on what's called a Human Terrain Team (HTT) a team of sociologists and anthropologists who work with the Afghans:

Since we only toured the facility when we went last Sunday, the Doctor told me to just sort of sit back today and observe… that was frankly impossible thanks to the Afghan children! The children are adorably friendly, coming up and shaking your hand to introduce themselves. We colored and did English lessons which we “graded” with a smiley face. One military unit brought a bunch of yo-yos which was hilarious as the kids tried to figure them out. There were also a few card games going and then…since everyone seems to LOVE my hair, I pulled out some hair ties and started doing crazy hair styles. A pony tail coming straight out the top of my head, a side ponytail, two pig tails on either side, I even showed them rapidly how to do a French braid. It was such a hit actually that the Egyptian guards came over and started taking pictures (look for the crazy American on facebook ;-) I think that I may try and have some ribbons and bows shipped and actually teach the girls to do some things with their hair. Most of them are quite conservative and wear headscarves but they seemed so into playing with my hair that I think it’s worth a try!

It was also clear that all of the girls desperately wanted my necklace. I actually think I committed a cultural faux pas because they put one of their toy beaded necklaces on me and I thought they were just playing, but I actually think they thought we were going to trade so once I picked up on it, I was gently like, no no no, this one is mine, but when I tried to give the beaded one back, they insisted I keep it. I felt really bad actually… I need to learn Dahri pronto!!! So another idea I had was to have jewelry making kits sent over so we can make jewelry together. Let me know if you have any other ideas for games and activities we could play…especially ones that are somewhat learning based :-)

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