11:30 a.m., Thursday, September 18. At the apartment, the volunteers are busy in their kitchens to complete the preparation of the meal. Today the dishes are for the residents of the Convent of Matarya, dear to the hearts of the volunteers. About ten elderly women live in this peaceful place, surrounded by a few sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary, who take care of them. And since 2018, the volunteers of SOS Chrétiens d'Orient have been visiting them every week. Thanks to the actions of the volunteers and of the sisters, like Sister Cana, their living conditions have radically improved. Today these women have regained their dignity and taste of life.
The volunteers arrive at the convent around noon. Once inside the building, the noise of the street gives way to a soothing silence. A flight of steps later, they are eagerly greeted by the residents who are delighted to see the SOS T-shirts again. The place is a bit dark, the rooms are empty but a certain excitement floats in the air. Hardly the time to greet each one, that the elderly ladies eagerly lead us to the room for lunch.
On the menu for lunch: spaghetti and minced meat. They are enjoying themselves and want more. It is a real success. The plates of each one are emptied at full speed and the dessert is no exception, to our greatest satisfaction! "Thank you, it's really very good!” Mona exclaims on many occasions in front of her favorite dessert: mangoes. Mona is the star of the convent of Matarya. As a multilingual resident with a strong character, she looks forward to the volunteers coming every week. And remember … before the arrival of SOS Chrétiens d'Orient, she hadn't left her room for 15 years.
After this delicious meal, the volunteers quickly clear out while Mona is surprised to receive a video call from a former volunteer! She is thrilled and hastens to ask her the date of her future return to Egypt.
Long tables are placed for the activity of the day: card games. Young French and Egyptian girls mix. Today, it is with the "boom" that one will play. The cards are dealt, everyone looks carefully at his game and concentrates on trying to "boom". The games follow each other with enthusiasm. Some are quickly victorious, others struggle to get rid of all their cards. The discussion drifts away, and the new volunteers take advantage of the opportunity to exchange with the elderly ladies. Meanwhile, Mona listens to her favorite French singers.
"You are phenomena!" With these words of Mona to the volunteers, the visit to the convent of Matarya ends. Once everything has been put back in place, everyone hugs Mona before greeting the elderly ladies one after the other: "Goodbye, see you next week!”. The sisters walked them to the door and thanked them warmly for all that SOS Chrétiens d'Orient does for them.
A day rich in smiles and joy of life shared with the residents of the convent!
You want help the mission in Egypt and especially the elderly in the convent of Matarya?
Inès, volunteer in Egypt.