Abbaseya's boys' orphanage is located in the heart of Cairo. For two years now, the volunteers present at Heliopolis have been working in this orphanage for 2 to 3 hours per week. This establishment, managed by Sister Marianne, has about twenty boys between 4 and 14 years old. Our intervention with these young people consists of one-off donations of supplies or clothing during major festivals and weekly French lessons.
"Tamantoshor, tessatoshor, ashrin!" All the children are there, we can go. Yalla! ". It was with these words from our interpreter George that the doors of the little bus carrying Abbaseya's 20 orphans closed. Goal of the day: reach the football field of Nasr City for an afternoon in the open air. It has been 1 month, yes, 1 month since these children have not left their small apartment, have not seen natural daylight, have not felt the warm air of Cairo and the scorching rays of the sun on their face. It is therefore with great excitement and joy that each of them dons an orange pinafore, our hallmark for the day, and straps in its place. Along the way, the camels in the streets waiting for Eid and the old cars arouse the admiration of the boys who exclaim under the amused and benevolent gaze of the ten volunteers that we are. We expected this outing just as much as the children, and me in particular.
Indeed, responsible for activities related to the orphanage since my arrival in Cairo, I immediately fell in love with this institution, which is feared by most of the volunteers. I remember it like it was yesterday. Informed only a few hours beforehand by a manager that I was going to take care of this activity, it was under the “Good luck” and “Come back alive” that the other volunteers had let me go under the hot sun. of a Saturday afternoon. During the ride, my heart swayed between excitement and apprehension at what then seemed like a new challenge. After a 20-minute journey through the narrow and crowded streets of the Abbaseya district, it was when I arrived in front of the large wrought iron gate of the orphanage and heard the laughter emanating from the end of the corridor that my doubts were raised. dissipated. Having sounded the singing bells of the apartment, I waited patiently for the sister in charge of the establishment to come and let me in. From the doormat I could already see a few boys of 5 or 6 who were looking at me curiously and mischievously from the large sofa in the living room. After a few moments the sister appeared. She is Sister Marianne, flanked by a young boy, slender, with almost melancholy black eyes, ebony skin and a gentle and peaceful smile. Without knowing it, I had just met one of the children, if not the child who would shake up the course of my mission the most with his mischief, his gentleness and his joie de vivre. His name: Moheb. So it was under the questioning eyes of those who were to become my little proteges that I entered this cramped little apartment in which about twenty boys aged 4 to 13 live together. The activity then began and an instant bond was born. It was born from smiles first, then from our laughter which despite the language barrier will have punctuated our afternoon and has been reinforced with a great deal of "postman is not past" and "macarena" . Although time seemed to have stood still, my translator called me back to reality after 2:30, because it was time to go home. When I left the apartment after a last farewell to Moheb from afar and before getting in the Uber, I was certain of a certainty: we must get out these children who are losing their best years under the glow. pale neon in their living room.
From this certainty sprouted an idea that never ceased to torment me and which turned into a project, then into reality. Today we are there, we take the boys to play a fantastic game of football in the city center. Where some of my comrades saw unconsciousness or insanity in trying to bring out what they thought were little monsters, I saw an essential objective. What carried me through the whole organizing process was the boys' smiles and the little voice of Moheb who had whispered in my ear a few days earlier "Emy, I would like to see the planes fly, they are free them! ”. So, animated by these little faces and after having avoided all the jolts of the "made in Egypt" organization, here we are finally in this mini bus, leaving for the football game of the century! The driver tells us that he is very touched by what we do for these children, he lets us sing at the top of our lungs in his vehicle, too happy to see everyone's broad smiles.
Arrived in the enclosure of the park where the ground is located, it is euphoria. Despite the heat, the greenery, the space and the smell of freedom, the excitement escalates in the boys who never let go of their big smiles. All impatient, we cross the park to the land we have reserved in exchange for a few pennies. Once the ground is invested, it is the beginning of an impressive game of an hour and a half, which will pit the volunteers against the twenty or so excited children and which will end in the victory of the latter. After a well-deserved rehydration break, the day continues with a snack, then, always in joy and good humor, is punctuated by parts of hawk then a water fight launched by the volunteers. Everyone has their own joke, adds a bit of madness to this afternoon, we are simply happy. Time flies too quickly, but we don't see him yet, caught up in the action. For sure, we will have lasting memories of that day. A bubble of joy, benevolence, complicity and love has formed on the ground, inexplicably linking volunteers and orphans.
The bubble bursts, the muezzin next door calls for prayer. This sound reminds us of the hour and marks the end of this wonderful day for us. The departure is more or less painful for the children who, delighted with their day, do not wish to add the word "end". Despite this disappointment at the departure, all of them, volunteers and orphans alike, leave the park with the eternal memory of a day spent under the sign of sharing and love, the two reasons for my departure on a mission. These beautiful sensations multiply in me when, before getting on the bus, Moheb grabs my hand and says to me with stars in his eyes "Thank you Emy, today I saw the planes".