They’re always there in the crisis
A few years ago, a friend of mine was on a public bus in Cairo. It was the rush hour, the streets were jammed, the weather was hot and everyone was hoping to get home soon. Suddenly, a man fainted on the bus. Everyone one around his seat, including my friend, was trying to help him by massaging his forehead or making him smell some perfume but he actually never responded. The bus driver pulled over and discussed the case with some passengers. They, finally, suggested driving the passed-out man to the nearest hospital, which meant that everyone was going to be a lot lately or that the ones in a hurry had to find another bus. Not a single passenger objected and every single one decided to stay on the bus and wait until they made sure that the man was safe and sound.
In less than 30 minutes, the bus got to the hospital and the paramedics took the man. Everyone on the bus: old men, women, young people, was praying for the man while the other two passengers accompanied him inside the hospital. All those people had never met each other before; yet, they were gathered and united for the sake of one person whom they also had just seen for the first time.
The two passengers came back to the bus with gloomy faces while everyone looked up to hear some relieving news. However, all that they heard was “الله يرحمه” meaning “God forgive him” which is a prayer Egyptians say when they mention someone who passed away. All the people on the bus were shocked and traumatized. Some of them cried others prayed sadly asking God to grant the man mercy and forgiveness.
Knowing that the man’s family would definitely want to know what exactly happened, some of the passengers decided to wait for them to arrive in order to tell them about the sad incident and offer help and condolences on behalf of the rest of the passengers.
My friend was so touched by the incident and by how compassionate and kind Egyptians can be. “It felt like they’re always there for you,” she said.
Life can be hard sometimes; full of rapid changes. The stress forces people to put emotions aside and start acting practically in order not to waste any time or effort. But in Egypt, people are obviously a lot more warm-hearted. I think it’s difficult for them to act in a cold manner especially when someone is in need. And that’s what a human being needs in order to feel safe.
IH Cairo Teacher.