My former student Mohamed Hussein Mohamed asked me to come by St. Andrew’s today to help with the Oral Assessment of the new students. So, I became an interrogator of refugees asking impertinent questions:
What kind of food do you like?
Are you married?
How many brothers and sisters do you have?
Some questions elicit pain: When do you go to work?
I have no work.
What is one of the problems in Cairo?
There is no work here for me.
I interview about five students. The first two are young men from Sudan in their late 20s. The next three are Iraqis from Baghdad. First, a veterinarian who would like to open up his own practice. Alas, the Egyptian government will not allow him to do such a thing. Second, an articulate woman who practiced as a gynecologist. Unfortunately, she does not have much to do here in Cairo except to make sure her kids are studying in school and they have enough to eat. “The money is running out,” she says matter-of-factly. I mentioned to her that someone on the Cairo Scholars listserv for expatriates was in need of a gynecologist recently. She asked me to forward her the email.
Finally, a dignified and well-spoken man, perhaps in his late 40s, who fled Iraq and is now looking to resettle outside Egypt. His daughter recently found refuge in “Missery” in the middle of America. Missouri, this is. I told him to be careful of the pronunciation, as Missourians are very proud people. I decided that he and the doctor both are advanced. I hope to be able to have them in my class in January, insha’ Allah! (God Willing!).