The last seven photos are associated with the “Looking Back 6 Months In” post.
April 2016: My (Judy’s) grade 7 students wrote poems and we organized a reading and tea party in the school garden. We invited all the mothers, I made cookies and brought flowers.. And I insisted that the kids get dressed up. Two of them forgot. But it was fun!! There’s a photo of the grade 7’s and their moms. The kids have read their poems and are now relaxed. A lot of nervousness preceded this moment. They insisted on having Mr. Howard in the pictures. There’s a photo of Mr. History teacher. And then, the garden. It’s still a work in progress.
May 2016: The map of Egypt is associated with the “Luxor in May…heat, heat and more heat!” post. The other photos are of our trip, we are on the beautiful Greek island of Santorini during our spring break. The views and landscape are stunning, looks like postcards. Photo of Judy with the Aegean Sea behind, I am in a very odd underground bookstore in Oia, Santorini, photo of our unit .. rest and relaxation; we make our breakfasts each morning and eat outside on our balcony, view of the farmer’s fields.
June 2016: This is my language acquisition class. Grade 7-9. One person missing. we were talking about rainbows, working together.. And decided to take a picture of our rainbow colours. From lightest to darkest and it was an interesting talk. We were falling into bad habits in class so we did this. All these words came from the students… Grade 6. Ramadan lanterns and The Cecil.
September 2016: This is the view from our Bedouin hotel in Dahab on the Red Sea. Today we are going into the village to Bedouin market and will go snorkeling too. This is an old laid back place… So exotic. The sunrise at the top of Mt Sinai: We climbed Mt. Sinai last night overnight. It was an awesome experience, climbing on ancient pathways with our Bedouin guide Ibrahim to the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments according to the Bible. This is a photo of this morning’s sunrise from the summit. What a climb! The view from the top of Moses mountain in the Sinai mountain range. Just as the sun came up. Desert and Mountains: Majestic. We met many good people as we bounced along in the back of a pick-up truck on our way to The Blue Hole, a wonderful coral reef diving spot. Sara, a new friend from Cairo, took this picture. Our Driver: This little guy drove us to one of our snorkeling sites.. We were all in the box of the truck and this boy was a very careful and responsible driver. Another new experience!! Bedouin Tea: At our hotel waiting for our ride to St Catherine’s. This is the life!! Camel eating at our Bedouin spot. At Blue Lagoon, a Bedouin spot. Ready to snorkel. On the gulf of Aqaba. We saw beautiful coloured fish so close you felt you could touch them. Floating, buoyant, drifting forever gazing at the underwater life. Path to the pool, magical. The pool at our Dahab hotel, with the Gulf of Aqaba in the distance.
October 2016: From the top of our school steps looking down on the eating area. It’s still very hot here .. 30 during the day but very comfortable after the sun goes down. We walk up the steps at 7:00 am to enter the middle school every day. Sunday to Thursday. We are the first to arrive , open the doors and get the day started. This is our school neighborhood. There is an older woman who stands on her doorstep and shouts loudly.. Gibberish. Apparently she used to be the most beautiful prostitute in the area but one day her rich American client left her with nothing and disappeared. She has been unbalanced since then. A colourful area we have here.
Our cook gave us these papyrus pics, Note: Judes is sporting her InStride t-shirt! Judy’s Classroom: these are some of the visuals that went with the grade 7s’ speeches trying to convince us that something should change. Other topics were “we should be encouraged to chew gum in school” and “our school should buy the IB version of the video game Minecraft to be used as an educational tool”. A student poem, written by a grade 7 girl whose first language is Arabic, second is French and third is English. Another grade 7 poem, written in her second language. Halloween: some of the grade 7 cats.
November 2016: Siwa – Here we are at our Siwa gardens Hotel. So relaxing. No honking of horns. Tomorrow we take a trip out into the desert and swim in hot springs as well as a fresh water spring. This is an oasis town. Siwa garden hotel, our piece of heaven. The fresh water pool at our hotel, a great spot to sit, read and swim. Shopping in the oasis town of Siwa in the Sahara – very hospitable brothers made us feel at home. No pressure here to buy. So we did! But not all this stuff! At the rug shop, we had tea and got dressed up here!! A typical lady’s outfit – where’s granny?? (hahaha Judy!). The Great Sand Sea in the Sahara: Yes we drove up and down these sand dunes with our guide, Mohammed, in a 4 wheel drive Toyota Land Cruiser. Heart in mouth. But exhilarating. The fresh water cold spring lake in the middle of the dessert: swimming was out of this world refreshing. Climbing the dunes, as the sun is setting. Nearing sunset, yes you feel as if you could fly here.. down the moving sand. Made it to the top, effort up, float down. Mohammed, our guide – he sleeps out in the desert often and finds the town life too busy. Sculpted sand, hard to believe we are here in this open unspoiled space.. God/ Allah’s country. The Salt Lake in Siwa – All that white , edging the lake is salt.. not ice! And you don’t swim in this water, you sit floating as if you are in a rubber tire or inflatable chair. And woe betide you if you get this water in your eyes or mouth. The water is literally thick with salt. Graham, fooled into thinking this was a normal lake, tried to dive in and had to wash out his eyes with our bottled drinking water. The weirdest ‘swimming ‘ I have ever done. Graham says he felt like a top on the ocean.. except it is a lake.
As per Graham’s post re: mount Sinai, pic of coffee shop, which is shades of French Café. Would be fun to climb that mountain with the gang, including KT!
Planet Gym: Eslem is Judy’s trainer at this American wanna be gym , a short walk from our place. He is often late, smokes on his breaks and does his own high powered workout at the same time as he trains me… but he knows how to get the most out of his devotees!! He wants to be a muscle model in the future. Lyse likes his shoulders! hahahaha (sorry Judy and Graham, I couldn’t resist).
The big pearl. And here we are. Pearls are a big deal here!! Persian gulf behind us. A quick weekend in Qatar. With sister Kath in Doha, Qatar. Those are pearl divers boats behind them. Field trip to the bibliotheca. Our 41 middle school kids..Graham is not in this picture because he was off running around organizing this event. A great day!!