Egypt, Middle East

St. Simon and the Zabbaleen

Like at our first visit with Juliana in Cairo she again took us to the Mokattam area so also Maria and Gerhard could get this very special impression. El Mokattam is a mountain at the edge of Cairo with a special religious story. It is linked to St. Simon the Tanner whom a monastery behind the Manschiyyet Nasser neighbourhood, where the Zabbaleen (Garbage people) live, is dedicated.

The Manschiyyet Nasser village is mostly inhabited by coptic christians (Zabbaleen) who collect and sort the garbage of Cairo. Both the Sister of Mercy (Mother Theresa) and Sr. Emmanuelle (a Sister of Notre Dame de Sion) did here great work for the education and healthcare of the people. For example, she founded Gabal El Mokattam School, which is now run by the Daughters of Mary, and a clinic. This school and the clinic are important sources of education, health and values for these families.

After driving through the narrow roads of Manschiyyet Nasser you get to the Monstery of St. Simon the Tanner with huge churches cut into the rock. You also find special reliefs and figures by an polish artist along the rock.