An interesting view on SEKEM's day-to-day activities and the famous Cairo-sights

Posted on 19 March 2017, by Andreas Sandau and Family

We experienced as a family the daily life in SEKEM with its firms, employees, schools, farming and storage of products - we took part in assemblies of students and workers and bedides we saw the most famous sights in Cairo, Pyramids, Egyptian Museum, Sakkara, the big BAzar Khan-el-Khalili, the Mohammed-Ali Mosque, Coptian Cairo, we went to the oasis Faiyum and spoke with farmers who work in sustainable ways for SEKEM - all very insightful and hope giving!

We, a family of 4, aged 51, 54 and two daughters of 18 and 14, had booked the tour SEKEM Essential 25th FEB thru 5th MARCH, 2017. It was an exciting and utmost interesting week for all of us!
We stayed in SEKEM's Guesthouse, surrounded by palm-trees and flourishing plants of all sorts, and were served delicious, good food.

Pics Guesthouse, alley

Yvonne greeted us heartily on the first day and informed us about this astonishing initiative in its 40th year. In the afternoon we were guided through some of SEKEM's firms, e.g. Naturetex, the herbal storage, Atos Pharmaceutical Factory and the farm-activities themselves.

On Tuesday were driven to huge, huge Cairo with its chaotic traffic right to the Egyptian Museum at Tahrir Square. There our guide Ms Nihal gave us an interesting and wonderful tour. In the afternoon we strolled through the Bazar Khan-el-Khalili and immerged in the unbelievable Cairo crowds. For dinner we returned to the green and quiet SEKEM Farm.

Wednesday took us again through busy Cairo to the Pyramids in Giza and later to the step-pyramid in Sakkara. These Wonders of the World are really remarkable monuments.

The next day was reserved for SEKEM. We had a look into the kindergarten and the different types of schools. We participated in the morning circle on the schoolyard, and even were allowed to visit one class while the lesson was going on. We even were enabled to visit a lesson for handicapped children working with clay.

pic school

Every Thursday, the last day of the muslimic week, before the weekend on Friday and (very recently the Saturday was added) begins, there are performances of many activities the students work on in their daily lessons, poems, songs, sketches, in the school's assembly hall. At about 4-5 p.m. all the 900 employees come together in a big circle to shortly reflect on the past week and to personally say farewell to the Abouleish Family. This fascinating event for us showed the sense of belonging to this unique community!

pic farewell circle

On Friday we were driven to the Oasis Faiyum. The tour went through Cairo's ocean of alike looking houses, past desert and a very large cemetery to the very green fields of the extended oasis. The contrasts of the habited and unhabited areas are sharp. We had a long conversation with a farmer, who planted chamomile and other herbs for SEKEM, who pays guaranteed prices.

pic Farmers in Faiyum

On Saturday before our return-flight home on Sunday Nihal showed us different Prayer Houses (Mosques, Coptic Churches), and took the opportunity to tell us many interesting details about the life in Egypt and in Cairo.

All in all it has been a very Interesting, varied and remarkable journey. We all learned a lot about SEKEM, the miracle in the desert, and about the Egyptian culture both old and modern. Possible that we go again, but for now we took many impressions home, that will last for a long time.

March 2017, Heike and Andreas with Sonja and Lena


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