There are two Kindergarden in El Berba. One is in the house of the developement center and its Aza who is responsible for it. The other is in the Sisters house and is for children with special needs. There are four young women you work and play with these children in different groups. On top of the house the have a playground under a sunshade. Sr. Juliana initiated this Kindergarden and still is active in keeping it running. As they like music, Barbara gave them twice a music lesson playing with Orff instruments. They enjoyed and we hope the teachers will be able to continue this work.
El Berba is village at the edge of the western desert about 30km southwest of Minia and northwest of Abu Gurgos / Al Fikria. These towns are at the Nile 300km south of Cairo. The population is still increasing and now maybe at 12.000 persons. Many of the people of Berba live in Cairo and work as concierge in apparent houses. Sometimes the parents live in Cairo and the children in Berba. Or the eldest children look for work in Cairo and support the family at home in Berba. Although people have to look for work outside the village it is still a very agricultural village. There is no starving in Berba but many families have to live from a few pounds (1 EUR = 7,8 EGP) a day which officially means poverty. In Berba today you find 12 mosques but still only one Coptic Catholic Church. As in daily life Christians and Muslims have not the same rights it is a 18 years fight to build a new and larger church. Now after the …
Monday morning we left Cairo via Giza through the early morning traffic heading for Fayoum Oasis, which was a new destination for us. We passed by the large Lake Qarun and through small villages to find the famous water wheels in the middle of a tea garden in Medinat Fayoum.
The first Sunday we spent in Cairo with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion and visited old Cairo after joining the mass at the Jesuits Church “Santa Familia”. We took the metro to Mar Girgis and first visited the Coptic Museum. After a tea at St. George’s Church we walked through the narrow street to St. Barbara’s Church and Ben-Ezra Synagogue. Ben-Ezra is one of the oldest Synagogues in the country and sometimes still used for special religious services. In the evening we joined the Sound and Light show at the Pyramids of Giza. A huge almost empty arena of chairs where waiting for the few tourist who came.
It seems to be, that Barbara has her own travel agency !:-) At least as we found above advertisement at a gas station in Luxor/Theben West. But anyhow, we think you need a lot of Guardian Angels to survive Egypts roads! Sr. Juliana was a perfect driver getting us always safe througth the traffic jam of Cairo or driving the roads along the Nil with thousands of bumps. Here you just see impressions what you can find on these roads.
“Soeur Juliana” is the name, Sr. Juliana is always called by the children and the people of the village El Berba, where she lives. It’s a pleasure to see how she and her work are appriciated. With all the trouble live brings up in a Muslim – Christian village, she lives there with much confidence and patience. Already in the last visits we so much enjoyed her hospitality and are thankful for all experience we had throughout her help. So also this time we were happy to see her at Cairo Airport waiting for us!