Same Conversation, Different Languages

Other than the fact that we actually do speak different languages: English & Arabic, much like what we discussed in class, Team Egypt and CRS Egypt were actually speaking two different languages: a business language vs. a development language.

From our presentation in class last week, it seemed like the Egypt project was the most undefined and had the most to do to structure the problem.  So, for our first official meeting with CRS staff, we tried to do just that: define and structure the problem.  However, we were speaking different languages, which made this process all the more difficult.

So, after a series of meet & greets and caffeine this morning, we sat down with CRS staff, went over our agenda for the two weeks.  Then lunch…

Delicious Koshari

After lunch, we met as a team and tried to hash out 1) our objectives, 2) our expectation, 3) our deliverables.  We created a plan which we then presented to CRS staff.  The feedback from this meeting was invaluable! We are one small step closer to speaking the same language and understanding each other.

Us: Hard at Work

Cairo in the Morning

السلام عليكم (As-Salāmu `Alaykumu, everyone!) Just a little picture of Cairo in the morning from Meghan and my balcony.  We’re off to have our first full day of meetings with CRS staff.

Touchdown in Cairo

This is actually Joe writing from Manasi’s login since mine doesn’t work at the moment. Team Egypt touched down just as the sun was setting over the desert. I’m not sure if the lack of other planes at the airport was due to the time of day or the general decline of tourism in the past year. A lot of the flights from Europe tend to arrive and depart late at night or early morning so our ~6pm arrival was unusual.

We were met by Rosalie and Hanan, two of our contacts at CRS Egypt. They rode with us to our hotel in Zamalek, a large island in the Nile that is in the heart of the city. It’s been almost exactly seven years since the last time I was in Egypt and things felt largely the same. I even managed to recognize a couple of places I had visited the last time on the ride in, including the dorm where ND undergrads used to stay for the Cairo semester abroad. I always enjoy seeing the city at night since many of the mosques light their minarets with neon. It makes for a striking visual. I’ll try to get a picture of it in the next couple days.

The drive itself was plenty exciting with “light traffic.” This entails roads jammed with cars three or four across that are constantly merging and slipping by each other while on a surface that was designed to be only two lanes. It was slower going than I remembered and will definitely be a factor in our general logistics here. After a quick dinner down the street from the hotel, the team is heading off to bed or letting everyone at home know we made it. Our first full day of meetings with CRS starts at 9 tomorrow!

!تصبح على الخير


Oh, the smell of frankfurters in the morning! Just landed in Frankfurt en route to Cairo. Team bonding is at its height.  Thing we have found out about each other: 1) Ed Cohen is the “Honey Badger,” 2) Manasi has already been handed a “demerit” by the demerit-keeper: Joe Queenan, 3) Meghan really likes sleeping, 4) Cory can’t sleep on planes, 5) Joe S wants to go to Iran, and 6) Rob gets profiled at airports…. More exciting stuff to come soon!

Team Egypt’s First Blog Post Ever!

Team Egypt is off on Friday afternoon (March 2nd) from O’Hare to Cairo via Frankfurt. Cairo was hit today with a dust storm, which generally lasts for about 4-5 days, so will be arriving to a Cairo that looks like the picture shown above.  Nevertheless, we are really excited to land on Saturday and meet our wonderful in-country team: Hani, Britton, and Rosalie, and to begin our exploration of Egypt.

Fear not, we will be sure to update the blog every day with schedules, pictures, and anecdotes.  Starting on Friday/Saturday, our travel days, you will see exciting pictures, such as Rob sleeping…

– Team Egypt
(Cory, Ed, Joe Q, Joe S, Rob, Meghan, & Manasi)