The Twirling Skirts

I am now a volunteer at 57357 Hospital, an extraordinary institution dedicated solely to children, aged 18 and under, with cancer.

I will volunteer with them every day I am in Cairo, which doesn’t leave me much space, but I want to help in any way I can. Wearing my Cookie Monster t-shirt which already lit up a few faces today. While this was the emotional highlight of my day, there was an art-specific highlight as well –

Kareem (legit heaven-sent) took me to The Complex of as-Sultan Qansuwa al-Ghuri to see El-Tannura Troup. ‘El-Tannura’, means ‘the skirt’; and these whirling dervishes are themselves a form of prayer. My understanding is that they enter into a state of ecstatic altered reality while performing, and I was fully entranced. The early part of the performance, pre twirling, was a display of their musical skill; they performed old-school bellydancing music and I was nearly out of my seat and ready to push them off the stage so that I might dance. But I did not, because manners. Also, I can’t risk coming to Egypt and being called a ra2aasa; I shall save this for Canada only.

That aside, and quite seriously, I cannot in words explain the beauty of their movements, and give them due justice; if you have the opportunity to attend, please do yourself a favour and do so. You will be spellbound. Trust. (Apologies that the images are blurry, but they are twirling people, so difficult to photograph properly.)

Today, I am grateful for:
1. My ability to write to my Uber drivers in Arabic. Because I don’t write Arabic and I am certain they are all very much WHAT IS HAPPENING when they get my sad and confused messages. Loosely translated to English, I am sending things like “I am waiting you in the pin on the map is here. I sent myself. Why you is confused? 😔”
2. The old and appearing-to-be hand-made teapot which I made fun of for its slow pour. Until I discovered that this is an intentional design meant to literally slow your pour, so that the loose Egyptian tea (very very small), does not make its way into your cup. Amazing.
3. The Arts, and their makers. All of them.

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