Move over Lord Sugar
The theme of the term our boys spent at the Luxor Worldschool Hub was entrepreneurship and the organisers had planned lots of events and activites to get the children thinking about business and commerce.
Their second week at the hub would begin with an activity that would become one of their favourite experiences from the whole trip. If you have ever watched the BBC 1 series, "The Apprentice" you might be familiar with the challenge set each year that asks contestants to shop in an unfamiliar region of the world, buying unusual items for the least money as possible.
If you havent seen it, you get a shopping list and a time limit with the aim to buy everything on the list for as little money as possible.
The Luxor hub team had created a challenge like this for our Worldschool kids. Split into teams, each given a shopping list including things like pumice stones, indigo dye, specific tshirts and flour plus given money and a time limit the kids were let lose in the Souks on the East Bank of Luxor.
It was so much fun watching the children barter with shopkeepers, discussing tactics and learning what each item was. (Spolier alert, the team with two of the youngest members of the hub won due to charming the pants off everyone they met and being given many items for free!). It was extraordinary watching Dexter, who has struggled with his confidence at times boldly walking up to market stall holders with his list in hand asking questions and working out the cost of things.
Time at the hub was also spent doing woodwork and designing Tshirts this week. I loved that within the organised activities the children were also given lots of free time to be creative and follow whatever interest was pulling them at the time.
This week also saw the first of a few visits to a local pottery studio. Run by two brothers from Faiyum in Egpyt who are passionate about creating local crafts using traditional and modern designs and techniques as well as teaching their skills to others. The children learned about the processes of working with clay, were able to use foot powered and electric potters wheels, and make all sorts of amazing designs. Some of the children were so enthralled that they went back to visit a few times outside of the hub too.
Towards the end of this week we had the first illness of our travels when Dexter came down with a slight cough and a high fever. He was pretty lethargic for a few days and just wanted to sleep and be with us. Our wonderful landlord, Adel, came to water the garden on one of these days and saw that Dexter was feeling under the weather. He left, reappearing 10 minutes later with all the ingredients to make home made Anise tea. As he mixed the ingredients and brewed the tea he told us that this was what all Egyptians gave their children when poorly and it would help Dexter too.
Whether the sips of tea were the reason for Dexter bouncing back to good health so quickly or not it was heartwarming to see this display of care and generosity from Adel, something we saw repeated many times in small ways during our time here, people with very little willing, and happy, to share what they have.
The week ended with a quadbike trip for Kris and Jake (Dexter and I didn't join them as Dexter was still recuperating).
They joined a few other hub families to ride their bikes out into the desert behind the Valley of the Kings. Once everyone had arrived at the meeting place, they were given guidance on how cover their faces with scarves/masks as this would be really important once out in the desert. After a short explanation on how the bikes worked they were off, driving slowly at first through the village roads. Once off road they were able to pick up some speed and drove, convoy style, single file out into the Sahara desert. It was a really windy day and they were all very glad for the material they'd been advised to bring to cover their faces as they rode. After a while they stopped to explore some dunes and caves and were all really blown away by the views from the top of the dunes out across the sand.
Getting back on the quads Kris and Jake found themselves at the front of the pack and took the opportunity to partake in some (mostly) good natured racing, they both wished they could have done a little more of this. A while later and their second stop arrived, this time some blankets were laid out and fresh tea was brewed for them all to enjoy out on the sand. As they were chatting, drinking and exploring they noticed some a hazy cloud approaching them across the flat, realising it was a dust cloud everyone turned away from the direction it was approaching just in time as the tiny particles hit any exposed skin, stinging a little. Thankfully it was over as quickly as it was started leaving nothing behind but a cool story to tell.
All too quickly their desert adventure was over and they started the drive back to base. On the way home they stopped at a shop for refreshments and a toilet break and Kris was first introduced to date tea. Super sweet but really tasty, by the end of our trip Kris and I had were both quite taken with it, even packing some to take with us to Cyprus.
Next week would bring even more opportunity for adventures as we immersed ourselves fully in the temples and history of this exciting country.