Before the Arab Spring, I had a few months wandering in the Middle East on my own with a little rucksack. One of the cities I was particularly drawn into was Cairo where endless dusty streets spread across and over 9 million people live. In Cairo, I experienced the most unforgettable kindness of strangers and beautiful serendipity.
I was almost out of money without any guidebook and lost in the mega city without knowing anyone. I was too exhausted to think straight and was just standing still in the middle of nowhere at a big traffic light. Suddenly, someone grabbed my hand and told ‘ Yallah, lets go. Time to cross’ with a big charming smile. After a brief chat, I was invited to visit and stay with his family outside Cairo – a small Bedouin town which I don’t remember its name now. Looking back, I was really brave and naïve to trust complete strangers for 100% but at that time, I felt it was the right thing to do and I just followed my instinct.
There, I met incredibly genuine, warm and kindest people. I shared wonderful meal, tea, and interesting conversation with someone I did not know even an hour ago. Somewhat I felt at home and was thinking ‘ ah, maybe this is what ‘ Maktub’ means – a thing that was pre-written and a thing that was meant to happen. The experience made me believe that whatever the background ( religious, background, culture etc), we are able to connect with each other on a person to person level as long as we are open minded and dare to jump into something unknown.
Years passed and I haven’t had a chance to revisit the city. I even don’t remember the name of the Bedouin down. Most likely I may not see them again yet I do think of the fond memories and think about them every now and then.