Revolution Day

Many people have been asking me, worriedly, what the situation is like in Egypt right now. For those of you who don't know, last Friday, January 25th was Revolution Day. This is the day that is celebrated in Egypt now as the first day the revolution started two years ago. The Egyptians are pretty proud of the holiday, but it was also the day that was most likely for some pretty big protests and rioting down in Tahrir Square. Well, I will have you all know that as a precautionary measure, we were on lock-down at the school from Thursday night until Saturday night. Which just means we weren't allowed to leave campus for that period of time. It was all for naught though, as things were pretty calm here. Contrary to what the media seems to be advertising back in the states (big surprise). There have been some major protest in Port Saed, which is East of Cairo a ways. This is actually because of the anniversary of the protest at a huge soccer game there last year, in which several dozen people were killed. Recent court judgments sentenced several of the people involved to death, which has caused an uproar in the area. To be clear, it is affecting Cairo but not significantly. Things are still pretty safe here, so there is no cause for alarm yet. Should anything start to decay into potential anarchy, I would immediately update you all. We have very secure evacuation plans in place, but the likelihood of needing to evacuate is slim to none. 
My point is this: don't worry, be happy!
We are safe, happy, putting along with our regular routine. 

Sara got these Revolution Day shirts when she was here two years ago, and gave one to me. We sported them all day Friday, and the students loved it! 

Last Friday also happened to be the first day of second semester, the day after we completed finals. All of this, the lockdown, holiday, and completion of finals, led the school to make one decision:
That's right.
Remember Field Day?
I loved Field Day as a kid. 
No classes, you got to go outside and play games all day, special food for lunch, your teachers wouldn't (probably, haha) yell at you, school got out early. Good times. 
Feeling a tad sentimental right now.
Austin spent a ton of time putting together a huge day full of outdoor activities and class competitions. It is hard to get a lot of the students to participate in games and things like this, but if we turn it into a class competition they all get super competitive so there is a bigger turn-out. 

Getting the students corralled in the soccer field, in a neat and tidy-ish line, was an event in itself. haha

We started the day with a water balloon toss, with points going to the winners' class. It was super fun, but a lot of the students didn't want to follow the rules of taking a step back because they didn't want to get wet, haha. We would tell them all to take a few steps back, and as soon as they went to throw the balloon, they would run forward for the toss. This led to the elimination of many partners. haha

The winners of the water balloon toss went to Samuel and Waheed, two of the tenth graders

Mary and I were the resident photographers. Every day I am amazed by how beautiful she is! And her hair cut frames her face perfectly now, don't you think?
Anyways. After the water balloon fight, we had a tug-o-war competition between the classes. Each class got to choose ten students to pull on their end of the rope. This ended up giving some pretty amusing photos ;)

Here we have the tenth grade class! In the front is Sobhy, followed by Kerollos and Waheed. 

The tenth grade played against the ESL, and won. Then the juniors played against the seniors. Above we have Jacob, Mavdy, and Marco in the front from the eleventh grade class. They were so intense!

The seniors, who ended up winning the contest, were by far the most competitive of the group! Above you can see Mina and Duong on the front, holding out with most man-power. The rest of the class was cheering them on so hard! 

Although the ninth grade didn't win, they gave me the best pictures by far. haha. Above is Fifty, Yonan, and Remon in the front from my class. I think Yonan (front left) was given MVP from the competition. If his face doesn't show it well enough ;) 

Following the tug-o-war, we had a potato sack race! Each class got to choose one girl and one boy from their grade level to compete. The girls were surprisingly good at this! They were quick! Above we have (from left) Rose, Ayak, Poni, and Nisreen competing. Poni, from ESL, won the race. 

Near the villas, where I live with the other girls close to some of the other staff, there is a "square" that we use for the PE classes. It is about a quarter mile long road that goes around one of the tangerine orchards. We decided to put it to use, by having a cart race with one of the donkey carts. The students each got to choose eight classmates to push/pull the cart around the square to try and get the fastest time. Well, turns out this is nowhere as easy as it sounds, because the cart is super hard to control. The students hand a blast, but as you can see from the above photo, it wasn't uncommon for the cart to veer off the road into the orchard. The ninth grade class definitely knocked down one of the lamp-posts and another class broke some tangerine tree-limbs. haha! 

The tenth grade ended up having the fastest time on this competition, which got them all pretty excited. I love the team spirit the classes all had, when they were asked to work together for group activities! It was a good day. After the morning activities and a special lunch, we had some individual-oriented afternoon games and things. By far the most popular activity we had was bobbing for apples. Most of the students had never done this before, and thought it was so funny! Some of the guys were hilarious, because they would just dunk their whole head under water to grab an apple. The fastest time we had was for that was one second, done by using the aforementioned method. I ended up getting some pretty great action shots of the guys whipping the apples out of the water too. 

From the top we have Peter, Adeeb, and Antony. It was so funny to see their faces afterwards! If I hadn't have had my camera, I would have definitely joined in the festiviites. Which I did end up doing for the next contest: the three-legged race. I wish you all knew Sara personally, because she is absolutely hilarious. And she and I together are a riot, for sure. Put her and I together, with tied up legs, and tell us to run? There is no way you won't be laughing. We were laughing so hard towards the end that we were barely moving. 

Even with all the laughing, we got the fastest time for any of the girls involved! I felt pretty accomplished with that feat. Granted, only like four other pairs of girls entered the contest... haha

Ayak and Poni were two of the girls who participated in most of the contests, which was so nice to see! They had a really fun time with the three-legged race as well.
After all the games and competitions were finished, Austin, Phil and I made a discovery: there was a whole box of water balloons left to be used! We took them and hid out behind walls, prepared to ambush passing students with them. It all started out well, until some of the senior guys decided to take revenge on Austin and Phil for their treachery. One misplaced balloon later and....

Austin ended up with a bloody nose. It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. haha.
Even with the concluding injury aside, our field day was ultimately a success. The students had a great time, it gave us all a distraction from homework and classwork, and everyone got to be a little silly.
We also ended up having a group of five guys from Australia come to the school for a week, for Week of Prayer. It was a great way to get the students involved everyday post-field day in school and church related activities. The guys who came to visit were great too, and really connected with the students!
Myself and the other Americans had a really good time showing them around Gabal, and mocking each others' accents too ;)

Overall, it was a great week.
On a side note, I want to apologize for my lack of updates for the past two weeks, I will try to keep posts more consistent in the future!
Also, I would like to note that I have been diligently up-keeping my non-resolution to do thirty minutes of right-brained activity a day. I have been taking piano lessons and learned covers of four of my favorite songs! I've also finished reading one and a half books, which keeps me on track for finishing all thirteen I brought from America with me by the time I have to leave in June. If you feel the desire, please join me in my venture!
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