Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hope for Change in Egypt

First of all, here is the situation in Egypt:
Many Egyptians are just hoping for the election to go well with possibility of a new president who will care for the state of Egypt.  Corruption has lead the Egyptian political state for a very long time, but things have improved with the revolution.  A president can now only be in office for up to eight years instead of thirty-go revolution.  

Currently many Egyptians remain jobless and just trying to make ends meet.  An adorable chunk of love working on the street selling peanuts told us about the government stealing his cart and asking for 500 egyptian pounds to get it back.  They took it because they said that he is "ruining tourism" for Egypt.  You know what is ruining tourism? The poor government and caring for tourism-that is what is ruining Egypt-not this adorable man selling fresh peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.  Having to scrape together 500 egyptian pounds took him a while and he was behind on all his expenses when they took his cart. What are Egyptians suppose to do to make a living? Is the government suggesting they just live on the streets as beggars? All the Egyptians can do is HOPE for a better future. 

When George Bush was in presidency, the country could not wait for the next president to come and save them from their misery.  This man came and his speech was focused on hope and change.  While the word change takes a significant period of time and may not be seen even in his term, he pushed his philosophy in hope for a better tomorrow and future.  America felt this message of hope in their hearts and President Obama became the President of the United States.   

While I am unable to understand Arabic, I have my friends translate some of the election talk for me on radio and television.  The city of Cairo and Alexandria is full of election fever.  Horses and trucks with banners of the candidates and nightly demonstrations in the street.  It is only a matter of days before elections begin and Egyptians are eager for them to take place as their fate awaits them. 

Now back to the job situation in Egypt, it is quite sad listening to my friends Khaled and Khaled, especially my dear Khaled(1).  Khaled(1) works in a customer service call center where he has to disguise that he is Egyptian and act like he is from New York! His English is good, but not great and even his co-workers who speak excellent English are working in these call centers with a dead end of opportunity. Khaled has excellent customer service and would love to work in a bank or hotel, but this is only for those with "Egyptian connections."

Two things that make your life a cake walk in Egypt 1.) Money 2.) Knowing the right people.

If you speak English well, this does not guarantee you a good job rather it is about the social networking.  Khaled says only if you know someone will you land a job in a bank or hotel.  Himself and his friends have tried applying and his attempts just seem to feel more and more hopeless. 

Khaled(1) says that 90 percent of Egyptians are desperate to go to America for a "better life."  He says the statement that I dread hearing from locals when traveling, "My dream is to one day have a life like yours." If these Khaled's only knew how amazing yet how tough my life could be.  I respond with a positive statement that your life will be just as great, things will hopefully get better with time and with the election, but will they get better?

Another thing is that traveling for Egyptians and obtaining visas is easier if you have the bank statements proving your income.  My friend Moustafa has traveled all over, but he is also privileged with a wealthy family and upbringing.  For those Egyptians of lower classes who are just working to live-obtaining a visa is expensive and very difficult.   
The more money, more problems in USA but in Egypt the less money, the more problems...

Two Egyptian souls, Khaled and Khaled, I can only hope and pray for a better life for these two, for my families I have met in Egypt, for the shopkeepers, for the street vendors, for the people of Egypt.  While they are living, breathing, and they are both employed-they want to be feel fulfilled in their work(purpose of life) and they want to travel and explore the beauty of the world.

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