Monday, January 31, 2011

Evacuations

There have been some questions floating around about the LDS community in Egypt. Not all my friends left in Egypt are LDS but naturally many of them are. With the recent evacuations, I think most of them will be leaving Egypt this week, but perhaps I'll share a few anonymous-like stories.

The LDS humanitarian (not proselytizing) missionary couple are leaving Egypt this week. The mission office has decided that this will mark the end of their mission, instead of sending them back when things stabilize over there.

The BYU-Jerusalem students were travelling in Luxor on January 25th. By Friday the 28th they had made it to Cairo. We haven't heard anything since then but we heard that they were planning on trying to travel by bus to the Taba border in order to make it back to Israel. (I just read on a friend's blog that they are safely in Israel).

I had a friend fly out to Utah in November to have a baby—she was due mid-December but the State Department likes pregnant mothers to fly out six weeks before their due date—she had a healthy baby boy, who, by the way, has huge hands (we saw him when he was a month old and his hands were, seriously, the same size as Miriam's). After Christmas break was over her husband and son flew back to Cairo so that they could attend work and school. She stayed behind with her little girl and new baby boy to wait for paperwork and get medical clearance. They were due to fly back to Cairo this coming Tuesday.

Instead they'll be flying to Washington, DC, to join her husband and son who were evacuated a few days ago. She's been beside herself with worry, I imagine, thinking of her son watching tanks roll down their street and hearing machine gun fire all day and all night. They left their cat, car, and apartment at the mercy of the looters but at least they'll be reunited.

Another friend of mine has five children. Her husband was in Washington, DC, this past week on a training mission. She was alone in Cairo with five children when the riots broke out. I can't imagine how she managed the stress of that. Her husband arrived back in Cairo yesterday, I believe, but she and her children are now being evacuated to Idaho.

The Relief Society president of the little Cairo branch returned to the States a few weeks ago to undergo foot surgery. She was planning on returning to Cairo today. Instead she is staying here and her husband will be evacuated to Casablanca on Wednesday until things die down in Cairo.

My dear Canadian friends in the branch flew to Geneva and from there they will go to France to stay with my friend's parents until they can return to Cairo.

Another friend in the branch, who is married to an Egyptian, is just hunkering down in her apartment. They have been locking the building doors after curfew (which I think is now at 3 PM) and they keep a baseball bat by their front door in case they should need it.

Our AUC friends are beginning to be evacuated as well. The plan, I believe is to first evacuate students and then faculty, staff, and families will follow.

I imagine most everyone is being evacuated and I can't imagine how it would feel to be separated from family during a crisis like this. Egypt is still going strong. Mubarak continues to hold onto his power; he has closed all railways and has attempted to close roadways as well. The people, though, are amazingly united—they are clearing the streets of standing water (from the water cannons, I presume) and garbage and are gathering food to feed the masses. With any luck this revolution will succeed in the near future!

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing an update about your friends. I've often wondered how they were coping with what is going on.

    I know this sounds so petty, but the poor cat! And the poor little boy who had to leave his cat behind!

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  2. Thanks for those updates, Nancy, I have been wondering about the ward members too! Glad to know everyone is safe, hopefully it stays that way.

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  3. My sister and two nieces plus their small dog left today after waiting 36 hours in the airport. Her husband was in Turin on business and they are meeting him there. Amazing how many families were separated during this time period. Another family's 12-year old daughter was on a school trip in Saudi Arabia and reunited with her family in Cairo today. They leave as a family tomorrow. I worry about all of the pets left behind. I hear many Egyptians are happy to take care of the animals left behind but wonder what will happen to them as time goes on if everyone isn't able to get back.

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  4. How did you get all these updates? I am SO happy to read them. I saw on Simmone's fb that her mom had written they were safe but that was yesterday...I have been trying to go to all the International schools websites but they won't come up? I know the teachers from my school (AIS) all went to Sharm together on buses. I have been so happy to read that the people in Egypt are not pushing or letting anyone else push a "religious" revolution. It seems all secular to me and I think its about time! I do hope a resolution can be found as quickly as possible. It seems so strange to be here in my calm simple life.

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  5. Watching the news makes me think of you and all the people you love. I can't imagine what these families are going through there, but I'm glad to hear that you sound encouraged. All of these people are in my prayers.

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  6. @Aprillee—Lots of people are out of Egypt and in Europe now, waiting for flights to the States, so it's been easier to get updates.

    My friend and her 3 kids are in Athens until Wednesday. She said she baked cookies for the men protecting her street on Saturday. How sweet, on both parties. :)

    Thanks, all, for caring.

    And, Layla, the cat (Waadi) was an adopted street cat (they seriously just yanked her off the street one day) so she was a little...feral...anyway. I'm sure she'll be able to hold her own! She's a vicious little thing!

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  7. When I mentioned to Josie that Mo was being evacuated without the cat, her reaction was just like Layla's. Josie and Layla are just a pair of cat women, n'est-ce pas?

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