What if I told you that Egypt wasn’t an “African” country?

My trip to Egypt in 2009 was eye-opening on many levels, but the thing that caught me the most off guard was moving from thinking about Egypt as African to Egypt as the Middle East.

So, as an African American, the thought of coming to Egypt not only excited me for obvious reasons (the land of the Pharaohs, the Pyramids, the Holy Family) but also got me thinking about the connection that I had ethnically to this great history. I have travelled to Africa two other times (Kenya and Ethiopia) and the warm welcome and sense of home I experienced were overwhelming. Upon arriving here, however, I have been introduced to this very complex culture of Egypt that, among other things, does not consider itself to be African. Yes, you read that correctly…Egyptians do not consider themselves to be African. Continue reading

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Fear of the Unknown

I wrote this post before my trip to Egypt in 2009. I traveled for a course during my time at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. I travel all the time but it never ceases to amaze me how fear is such a powerful emotion. It can literally stop us in our tracks…

I received a call from my father today asking if this trip was still going to happen. My mother continually calls and tells me (doesn’t ask) that I won’t be able to go to Egypt in a week. Their fear is linked to what’s happening in Gaza at this very moment. When I first heard their comments, I laughed and told them, “You do realize that I am going to Egypt and not Israel, right?” After time passed and I thought more about what they have been saying and asking, I realize that they are truly concerned for my well-being and don’t really care that Egypt isn’t Israel. Rather, when they look at a map and see the close proximity of the Gaza strip to Egypt, the alarm bells start ringing. As I put aside my own “traveler’s superiority” (you know, the attitude that many of us can acquire after being fortunate enough to travel internationally) I realize that their fear is not unwarranted.

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