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Vol. 12, No.1 Spring 2003

1601 North Kent Street, Suite 803, Arlington, VA 22209 Tel 1-800-564-2544 • Fax 703-875-9371 •

in this ISSUE
Ministry Spotlight
Join us in revitalizing Tanta Christian Hospital , p.2

Of Suffering, Solidarity, and Prayer
During the past month we've been witness to many images of war, as well as demonstrations of both protest and joy around the globe. As we process these events and acknowledge the losses suffered on all sides, we continue to stand with our Egyptian friends, Christian and Muslim, for peace and healing. The loss of trust between brothers and sisters is just one casualty of war. We understand the mixed emotions of many about America's military involvement in the Middle East, and know that these issues may have a particular impact on Middle Eastern Christians. We remember our Egyptian Christian brothers and sisters and our Arab friends in prayer. We affirm the Americans living abroad who choose to remain with our Egyptian friends amidst the turmoil in the region. Such is the stand of real partners in the

Call and Response
Pittsburgh Presbyterian Peter Murray reports on his visit to Egypt p.3

Egyptian Culture Corner
A call for your stories and memories of Egypt, p.4

Board Corner
We welcome two new members Jean Thomas and Suzan Habachy, p.5

work of intercultural understanding and peace building. Please pray with us for peace and stand with all those who have suffered loss in the war- Iraqi, Egyptian, American, citizen of the World.

Village Partnership News: Floor to Ceiling in Ashmoneen
Just south of Minia in the Mallawi district is HANDS newest Village Partner, Ashmoneen, where HANDS and American partners sponsor comprehensive community development work. One aspect of this is the housing project. Join us as we take a look at the construction process of re-building houses that will last…
Let’s take it from the top! Roofs are constructed from the trunks of palm tress and overlaid with palm leaves or tree branches. These makeshift ceilings of palm branches must be replaced constantly, are fire hazards, and do not prevent desert sand from entering the house during sand storms, and seem to be an inviting place for small pests to nest. Your partnership will allow for more permanent roofs, protecting families from sand storms, pests and the elements. All creatures, great and small… Homes are usually one large room built from organic materials. Walls are made of mud brick, which often collapse or erode from constant exposure to the elements. Due to the frailty of
continued, page 5

T anta Hospital: Past, Present and Future

Though Louis Elias was just a small boy in Tanta, Egypt, he fondly remembers his first visit to the American Mission Hospital there, the name of the kind doctor, the care of the staff. Years have passed, and young Louis is now Dr. Elias, recently retired from an accomplished career as an orthopedic surgeon in the US and England. Living in Maryland with his wife Samia, a dentist, Dr. Elias feels again called to Tanta, helping the hospital which helped him as a boy. Established as a clinic in 1897 by two American Presbyterian women doctors,

Tanta Hospital is now a 120-bed facility under the care of the Synod of the Nile. Emerging from a period of disrepair, Tanta Hospital is on its way to full recovery, with a new Dr. Louis Elias operating suite and intensive care unit, sponsored in large part by support from the Presbyterian Church (USA). A well-run Kidney Dialysis unit serves patients from around the region. Still, the hospital needs support to live up to its full potential. Dr. Louis and Dr. Samia have committed to the betterment of Tanta Hospital. Visiting several times with the staff and management of the hospital, the Elias’s have drawn up a plan for hospital improvements, including a new recovery room, outpatient clinic renovations, new entranceway, waiting rooms and hospital library. The plan also includes in-kind contributions of medical equipment and sup-

plies, staff training in medical advances in dentistry, surgery, and nursing, and volunteer recruitment of medical personnel for training and service. Drs. Louis & Samia have already donated their expertise to the care of the hospital through extended medical service visits to Tanta. They hope to bring together enough donated supplies, equipment, volunteers and monetary donations to help Tanta achieve its potential. Opportunities abound to join the work at Tanta Hospital. Perhaps you have skills or resources to share to restore the ministry of this Christian hospital to its full promise. Perhaps you know of a local clinic or hospital willing to donate medical equipment and supplies. With your help, Tanta Hospital could be the best in the Nile Delta, matching private hospitals in Cairo & Alexandria. What a great opportunity in these difficult times to provide a positive service to a needy area, and a great future for Tanta Hospital. If you would like to help, please contact us at 800-564-2544, or return the newsletter reply card today!

Christmas Recognized
On January 7 this year, a presidential decree recognized Christmas as a national holiday in Egypt! This is a significant milestone for Christian/Muslim relations. It is the first time a Christian holiday has been officially recognized in a predominately Muslim country.

In our last newsletter, we shared the need of Rev. Marzouk Habib from the church of Kom El Akhdar to receive a liver transplant. Due to your generous donations of over $3,000, Rev. Marzouk was able to travel the American University of Beirut for medical treatment. A liver transplant is still required, funds are still needed — but most of all your prayers are requested.

A PC in Every Home
Egypt's Ministry of Communication has launched a massive program to distribute a computer to every Egyptian home within the next seven years. The program will first provide PC's for the youth; then distribution will expand to the total population. Customers can register for their new computer by telephone, and installments of LE 75 to LE 100 will be added to their monthly phone bill. The Ministry expects increased computer use to help bridge the digital divide between Egypt and the developed world.

Egyptian Mothers Day
We asked and you replied! March 21st was Mothers Day in Egypt and many of you returned cards that were sent on to the moms in the Village of Jafar. Thank you for your contributions, and for making these moms feel special!


Call and Response
by Peter Murray I was searching for a positive way to respond to 9-11 when HANDS visited my church. Hearing about their work, I knew that taking a trip to Egypt would be an invaluable learning experience and a chance to serve using my medical skills. HANDS’ largest Christian partner, CEOSS (Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services) agreed to host me, so after months of preparation, in December, I embarked. Upon my arrival, I am met by a young man with a “CEOSS” sign, and we quickly make the midnight trip to my downtown hotel. I recognize the driving technique from Central American cities: ignore lane markers, honk your intentions, cut in, jockey for position, squeeze through, speed up, brake, honk... After intermittent sleep, I am ready for CEOSS headquarters. It’s morning rush so this trip is the full Cairo driving experience. My eyes are burning from the car exhaust and pollution when we arrive at the office building owned by my hosts. It is modern, open, and well kept up. I receive a briefing on my schedule, and am greeted warmly by Nabil Abadir, the General Director. I notice the contrast between the office setting inside and the chaos of the traffic outside. Back at the hotel after dinner, I go out. It is the last week of Ramadan and people are streaming into mosques, even lining up on rugs spread over the sidewalk for evening prayer. Crowds and vendors fill the streets, cabs and buses honk and

CEOSS Staff and Trainees squeeze through the crush. With my street map I press boldly forward along Ramses Street. This is more than anything like leaving a packed stadium after the game. I watch and imitate Cairenes who weave through moving cars to cross at corners. I’m learning something of how to get along with 16 million others in the limited space of a sidewalk. When

“Perhaps it is only by the grace of God that we understand each other at all.”
I get back to the hotel at 9:30, the city is just getting started. I hear honks and shouts outside all night as I try to sleep. I’m learning more, about the energy of the city and the over-stimulation of living within constant earshot of noise. My second day, I ascend a stairway through the decayed darkness of an apartment building in the Cairo slums. The CEOSS office there is light, clean and open. Around the edge of the classroom sit two young men, and some twenty women all wearing headscarves. One is completely veiled. I pray, and begin.

Through my interpreter, I meet my students (community medical workers). They have unresponsive, resistant patients. So I teach family and social psychology for two days, emphasizing humility, openness, and mutual support. Not the lesson I expected to teach, but the students respond favorably, despite long sessions and my cultural gaffes for which I apologize profusely. They forgive profusely. Class is over as sundown is announced over loudspeakers, and sandwiches are produced to allow students to break fast for Ramadan. But our interpreter doesn’t eat. He is devout Coptic Orthodox, following a vegetarian fast for Advent. Similar fasts, different faiths. More contrasts, more learning. When we finish the next day the students have a card and presents. We’d all gotten through this first experience, all learned something, perhaps lessons different than expected. Maybe it’s always this way. I’m back home now, and my experiences in Egypt continue to teach me a deep lesson about cross-cultural interchange. Perhaps it is only by the grace of God that we understand each other at all. We bring our own assumptions, our own ignorance, and we take back gifts that we hadn’t expected to receive. But in faithfulness, we continue the exchange, with openness and humility shaping our response. Peter Murray is a health care provider in Pittsburgh’s inner city where he attends East Liberty Presbyterian Church.

Pyramids for Peace Cards
Summer arrival! Look for a sample set in your mailbox this summer. Based on our Pyramids for Peace Art Exhibit these cards depict Village life in Egypt and the many facets of our work there. Check out our website to see all 12 designs!

VBS and Egypt!
Last summer, Harry & Dottie Eberts piloted an "Egypt and CEOSS" theme for Vacation Bible School in Lyndhurst, Ohio. This year, a VBS kit, "Treasures of the Nile", is commercially available at Great minds must think alike! Call us if you’d like HANDS to be part of your Egyptian VBS program.


upcoming events
Seminar: Engaging the Middle East in Ministry HANDS has been invited to speak at the annual World Mission Conference of the American Baptist Churches, held August 2nd-9th in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Karen Souryal, Rev. Dr. Andrea Zaki and Rev. Dr. Michael Feicht will present a twopart seminar entitled "Steps to Effective Ministry in the Middle East". To sponsor a similar seminar in your church or community, or for more information on any of the following events, contact us at (800) 564-2544, or Insight Trips to Egypt We’d like to welcome back and say "Thank You" to our friends at Fifth Ave. Presbyterian Church of New York City, who joined us on our November Insight Trip. New trips are now scheduled for June 1st-9th and September 19th-27th. Join us as we tour the pyramids and stand in support of Christian ministries in Egypt! Friends of HANDS Retreat Tentative Date: October 11th, Southern California. Come learn about how to become an Ambassador for Egyptian ministries! APE Sale in Chautauqua, New York We are at it again… Due to the great success of the last sale, HANDS will again be offering handmade rugs, quilts, place-mats, cards, and more, direct from APE in Cairo. APE (Association for the Protection of the Environment) is a Christian organization empowering the poor by teaching saleable crafts from scraps of donated fabrics and recycled paper. The sale will be June 14th & 15th, hosted by Robert Ludwig on the grounds of the beautiful Chautauqua Institution. Come enjoy a spring weekend on the shores of Lake Chautauqua, and support this important work as you shop!



Walking along the tree-lined Corniche of the Nile in moonlight… the grand villas of Garden City… the tinker’s call of “rubibikia”… hungrily sucking the sweetness from a sugar cane… train rides to Alexandria… huge sheets of cookies to the bakery on feast days…

If you’ve spent time in Egypt, whether as native son or touring visitor, Egypt holds a wealth of images and a treasure-trove of memories. Things change. Many of the cities’ tree-lined streets have given way to crowded sidewalks along busy highways. Busy lives and western amenities like cell phones and shopping malls intrude on traditional ways of life. Still, Egypt is Egypt. Neighbors, friends, even strangers willing to lend a hand, share a smile. Children still know the sweetness of sugar cane, and the train still runs along the Nile.

At HANDS, we’d like to collect your first-hand stories from Egypt, present and past, recapturing something of that unique Egyptian spirit, linking history with today. We’re calling on our readers to share your stories of Egypt, from long ago or just yesterday, from your points of view as students or teachers, missionaries, tourists, doctors, or farmers. Rich or poor, from the villages or the cities, whether foreigner or Egyptian, “khawagat” or “masryeen”. We’ll publish selected stories in upcoming newsletters. It’s our hope that in the process of connecting the past with the present, we’ll learn something of Egypt’s past to inform the challenges of Egypt’s future.



For consideration in our fall newsletter, send stories by July 15 to Hands Along the Nile Memory Project, 1601 N. Kent Street #803, Arlington, VA 22209, or Include your name, address and phone number, and reproductions of any photos you’d like to share.


Village Partnership News, continued
the walls, small unwanted inhabitants such as snakes and scorpions may carve out crevices and take up residence in these small spaces.

Ashmoneen is a farming community. This means it’s not unusual for families to share their houses with chickens, geese, goats, even the occasional cow. With your donation, red bricks will be purchased to improve or replace the mud walls. New walls will also be constructed dividing the large common room into 2 rooms-one for the family and the other for livestock. Ready…set…goal! Our goal in Ashmoneen is to renovate or upgrade 60 homes – replacing ceilings, building brick walls, enlarging and subdividing living spaces with interior walls, adding doors, installing shuttered windows, providing basic furniture and installing latrines.

Housing improvements occur concurrently with community activities to improve standards of living and foster community mobilization. Work is completed by community leaders and residents, leading to empowerment and to ownership of community solutions to problems. The total cost of this Housing project is $30,000. Ten percent of the total cost is funded by the residents of Ashmoneen. $500 covers the entire cost of renovation for one house. Your gift, large or small, helps us reach this goal together. Stand with us to help the people of Ashmoneen reach a basic standard of housing. Stay tuned for more Village Partnership with Ashmoneen!

One “resident goose” in Ashmoneen

This winter we said goodbye to three retiring board members: Mrs. Dorothy Eberts, Mrs. Mary Casselberry, and Dr. Greta Hanna. These women have served tirelessly for a number of years, and we thank them for their faithful years of service and their continued commitment to the work of HANDS as advocates. In February, HANDS board elected two new membersMs. McGrath Jean Thomas has built an impressive career in international development spanning over two decades, and has been a long-time friend of Egypt, HANDS, and CEOSS. Her experience includes eight years in Egypt serving as the Chief of Party on a civil society development project funded by the United States Agency for International Development. While there, she was responsible for training programs on topics such as volunteer management, advocacy, project management, and fundraising. Ms. Thomas has worked on development initiatives around the world, representing organizations such as Meridian Center International, the National Council of Negro Women, and Africare. Jean is currently an independent non-profit management consultant living in Washington DC, where she is active in her local civic association and a member of the Union Wesley AME Zion Church. Join us in welcoming Jean! Ms. Suzan Habachy was born and raised in Egypt. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Harvard University, Ms. Habachy’s credentials include twentyfive years in the United Nations managing economic and social affairs projects on behalf of women and disadvantaged groups. Spending extensive time in Africa and the Caribbean, Ms. Habachy also served for eight years as Executive Director of Trickle Up, an international economic development program assisting societies’ poorest. In recent years, Ms. Habachy has worked tirelessly with her sister, Nimet, as a volunteer advocate for the work of the Association for the Protection of the Environment in the slums of Cairo. Suzan currently lives in New York City, where she is a member of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. We are pleased to have Suzan as a member on our HANDS team!


Our Mission

Hands Along the Nile, an American organization, develops partnerships between Americans and Egyptians to increase understanding through dialogue, and to support the Egyptian Christian community in their efforts to raise the quality of life for all in their land.

Name: ______________________ ____________________________ Address:______________________ ____________________________ Tel: ________________________ E-Mail: ______________________ Please include my friend in your newsletter mailing Name: ______________________ ____________________________ Address:______________________ ____________________________ Tel: ________________________ E-Mail: ______________________

Please make your check payable to: HANDS 1601 North Kent Street Suite 803 Arlington, VA 22209

Volunteer Opportunities
Want to get out of the house and do something fun? Wondering what to do? Look no further! We want you to come join us in the HANDS office! Call Katrina for an opportunity in our office and around the country!

For: Ashmoneen House Repairs Part of a House $500 1 House Tanta Hospital Medical Equipment Donation__________

Guess Who’s 15?
Join us this year as we celebrate HANDS’ 15 year Anniversary This Year!

Volunteer Time

Join Us!
New trips to Egypt Planned June 1-9 & September 19-27!

Rev. Marzouk Insight Trip, SIGN ME UP! Where needed most Happy Birthday HANDS! For more information on any of these projects, call us at 1-800-564-2544








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