Ilaria Youssef
Ilaria Youssef
Cairo, Egypt 2023-2024
I was born in Egypt and moved to the U.S. when I was 11 years old. Now, I am going back to Cairo, Egypt to volunteer as a data analyst with BLESSEgypt for six months! Come along with me as I give back to the community that raised me. Read More About Ilaria →

January’s Excursions

Hi again!

I can’t believe the first month of 2024 is over and that Nardien and I are officially more than halfway through our time in Egypt. The past three weeks passed so quickly!

The first week:

I went with my siblings on a quick trip to Luxor and Aswan, two cities that hold a significant amount of Egyptian artifacts and temples. It was absolutely mind-blowing to walk around these temples and try to imagine what life was like back then, when they were being built and used as actual temples.

The weather there was in the high 70s, so FaceTiming my parents, who were snowed in in Nashville, while my siblings and I wore short sleeves out and about made them a little jealous.

We also took a short boat ride to spend a couple of hours at the Nubian Village and spend time with the people there. I never knew that people there speak a different language. The people exuded kindness and generosity. I also bought a Nubian galabeya (their traditional garb).

As for the office, I spent this week learning the ins and outs of their online system to set me up for next week’s task, which was to upload all the data entry tools for the field workers to keep track of their progress throughout the year.

The second week:

My siblings, a couple of our cousins, and I took a day trip to Alexandria, where we got to visit a few churches, eat some of Alexandria’s signature foods, and enjoy a nice walk along the sea.

We also visited places in Cairo that we used to frequent as kids. Most places, to my 11-year-old self, seemed huge, but now going back as an adult and seeing that everything is, in fact, of a normal size, was like someone telling me Santa isn’t real. Suddenly, all my childhood memories are slightly altered forever. However, it’s always a delight meeting people who knew our parents and listening to stories about them when they were younger.

We also visited the Grand Egyptian Museum with all of our cousins.

Last week:

Unfortunately, I was sick with a fever for the most part and didn’t go into the office at all, which is why this blog post is late: my laptop is still not fixed, and not being at the office, I didn’t have access to a computer to post from. (Stay tuned for pictures once I finally fix my laptop).

In other news, my siblings left last night, and I spent the last few days hanging out with them and doing any and all last-minute activities they wanted to do before flying back.

It’s also worth mentioning that we drank sugarcane juice every chance we got, because it’s sugarcane season right now, and it’s definitely one of the things I’ll miss the most when I go back to Nashville.

As always, please keep me in your prayers.

Ilaria Youssef

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