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Media Friends Drop Into Cairo By: Mike Swarbrick
Our Expedition Africa Team had some homegrown visitors this week. We welcomed a news team from City TV who dropped in on us for a few days; weekend news anchor and reporter Merella Fernandez and veteran camera operator Stephen Boorne. They were great company and we were delighted to have them join us for interviews with Philip Mackinnon, the Canadian Ambassador to Egypt; CIDA, (Canadian International Development Agency); the Egyptian Smart Village and School and Dr. Zahi Hawass, the Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. If you’d like to see some of Merella and Steve’s video reports on the expedition visit: www.citynews.ca
Dr. Hawass is a larger than life character, complete with an Indiana Jones style hat (yes, and the whip, although it’s framed on a wall). He is known, in Egyptology circles, world wide, as “the mummy hunter”. He has been a consultant for several documentaries, films, television specials and magazine stories. He is conspicuously proud to show off his own books on ancient Egyptian discoveries. He thrives on attention, not only unto himself but also on his chosen profession and his country. He has been described as controversial, theatrical and passionate. I can certainly attest to the latter two. When he speaks, his voice booms with excitement and his hands are a blur of dramatic punctuation. Due to his total control over all that is ancient in Egypt, he has of course faced much controversy amongst his local and international peers, some of whom he mischievously refers to as Pyramidiots. If you’d like to read more about this notorious character and his discoveries check out his home page at: www.guardians.net/hawass/
The smart schools are an education initiative of the Egyptian government with the assistance of Microsoft and others to place web enabled computer work stations at the finger tips of students of all ages.
CIDA is working on a number of programs here in Egypt in an effort to assist a large number of the underprivileged in outlying areas. From instigating the construction of more wheat mills and improving daycare centers to implementing rural computer learning centers and upgrading existing dairy facilities, the list goes on and on. They also provide the necessary training and funding to ensure sustainability of all these projects. Now that’s an admirable use of our tax dollars!
Our Canadian Ambassador, Philip Mackinnon, was an articulate well of information, assisting both Shaunna and Khairoon who are constantly busy compiling, developing and cataloguing articles for our school board partners. Shaunna completed in depth reports this week on the Giza pyramids, Dr. Hawass and the Egyptian Museum, while Khairoon accomplished her comprehensive studies on ???
It was notable when at the end of the interview the ambassador candidly asked us if in fact we really thought that we would be able to get into Sudan, the next country scheduled on this African odyssey through nine countries. We all laughed politely and assured him that we would be fine. For all but Ben, it was indeed a somewhat nervous laughter.
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All content copyright 2006 by: Mike Swarbrick