Category Archives: Surviving Cairo

Surviving ‘The Talk’

“Please let’s not talk about that! I’ll probably get them because I keep on frowning just so that guys don’t talk to me!”

She smoothed her forehead several times, vertically then horizontally and then vertically again. Another colleague snapped out of his concentration in front of the computer screen. It was 10.15pm and he was clearly not impressed by how energetic we seemed after a long day at work.

“What are you two talking about?” He muttered, flopped in the chair as he swung round to look at us.

“Getting old. Frown lines.”

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Surviving Cairo

I recently received a message asking about safety in Egypt, how it was settling in as a woman and how I dealt with living in Cairo. The answer requires several blog posts, but I sent the following reply instead. This could be the start of a ‘Surviving Cairo’ series (sounds like it would need its own blog, actually, but let’s scrap that idea for now!).

I understand the concerns of your family regarding Cairo’s safety, as it isn’t in the most stable political position at the moment, and recent happenings are a cause for concern. However, I generally believe Cairo to be safe, and I honestly wouldn’t be here if this wasn’t the case (especially since my employer would have all British nationals evacuated as we were during the revolution!).

Having said that, I have what I believe to be the advantage of being a woman of colour and a wearer of a headscarf, and thus my experiences might be somewhat different from someone who is openly viewed as being foreign. People usually can’t work me out because I dress as a Muslim woman, I’m black (like a Sudanese or even Nubian would be) and thus do not get hassled or bothered… and people make the mistake of speaking Arabic to me as though I would understand! This is all until I open my mouth and English spills forth; I am more of an amalgamation than some can handle, so I stick to the ‘From Nigeria’, response when asked where I’m from – London is not believable!

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