Time for goodbyes
Our final week in Luxor was jam packed with fun and excitement, making the goodbyes at the end of the week feel really tough. But to copy a quote I saw on a postcard recently "How lucky we are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard".
Still a little tired from our Marsa Alam trip, the hub bus picked us up bright and early on Monday morning and we set off to visit ACE animal care on Luxor's East bank. This is a fabulous organisation proving free or hugely subsidised care to local farm animals, pets and strays in the area. Egypt sadly does not have a great record of animal treatment but ACE are doing all they can to change that in this corner of Luxor.
They treat animals, providing both emergency care and long term guidance on keeping animals healthy. Owners can bring their animals to the centre, or, if the journey is too long, ACE have a mobile unit they can send out. They also work hard educating local school children on good animal care practices so they can go back to their families with this new, important information.
The worldschool hub children worked hard at a market day to sell hand made goods with the proceeds being given to ACE charity and this Monday they set off to donate the money and see the great work being done up close.
Pens, runs and cages of cats, dogs, horses, donkeys and even tortoises greeted us and it was great to see all the hard work being done here and for the children to have an opportunity to learn about the value of charity. The highlight was being told that a puppy that had been brought in for some flea/tick treatment a week or so before could be returned to the farm it had come from and the kids were delighted to have an extra passenger on the way home.
That day was the birthday of one of the children attending the hub and that evening we all set off for a pizza party with a difference: on board a felucca at sunset. Feluccas are traditional wooden Egyptian boats powered by sails. They are calmer and quieter than the motorboat taxis we had all got so used to. We all piled aboard and set sail for a trip up and down the Nile. Pizza was eaten, cake was had and the high winds gave us all a thrilling ride! It was a great way to celebrate a birthday and I hope the birthday girl remembers it fondly for a long time, we certainly will.
The next day the hub organised their version of a "sports day". Good natured races and competitions such as egg and spoon races, three legged running, tug of wars and a fun game of rounders all followed up with cool ice lollies made it a really fun morning. We used a community space in the village, a large open area where local children come to play football and do other exercise. As always, watching kids of all ages and abilities coming together to have fun was inspiring.
That evening Jake and I joined another hub family to visit the infamous museum of mummification on the East bank. It's a small but perfectly formed museum all about the mummification process. How they did it as well as why. There were examples of mummified people, and animals (yep, everything that a person wanted with them in the afterlife needed to be in their tombs and that included their favourite pets too!). We saw mummified crocodiles, cats, fish and even a babboon.
Jake's favourite bit was seeing all the tools of the trade, especially the brain removal hooks - may be better not to ask too much about that.
We had dinner, just the two of us, at a lovely restaurant overlooking Luxor temple and the Nile which was lovely. I have found challenges with parenting children of all ages, the teenage years are definitely not all smooth sailing but it's wonderful to sit alongside your young adult, sharing a meal and chatting about everything and nothing.
Then our final worldschool hub day arrived. Louise, Adel and Mustafa pulled out all the stops, as usual (despite Louise having a poorly cat at home and having to run around all day). There was a pool party, with the kids making rafts out of water bottles and then time for chilling by the pool with party food and soft drinks. Louise and her team had made graduation certificates for each child and she made sure to give each attendee a little speech about what was special about them and how much they'd contributed to the group. It was wonderful.
That night we all went for a final group meal, a chance for the children to have a final chat and play and for us adults too! Good food, a few drinks and lots of opportunity to share our favourite memories of the past few weeks and talk about our plans to come. Families from all over the world, from different cultures and different backgrounds, all with the same wish: to educate their children globally, outside of traditional school classrooms. I am inspired and grateful to each and every person there that night (and those I'd met who couldn't attend).
Before we knew it our final day was upon us and as we packed up and got ready to leave Luxor we spoke about how much we'd enjoyed the stay and how much we'd like to come back. I'll be surprised if this is the last time we'll be in Egypt, it's like no where else I've ever been and there is a desire in me to see much more.
We needed to get back to Cairo for our flight back South into Europe but I couldn't face the overnight train again so decided to opt for the very cheap, but surprisingly luxourious overnight coach instead. We were all very surprised with how well organised, clean and comfortable the coach was. Both kids got a little sleep, neither parent did really but it was better than the train and cool to drive along the desert roads watching the sun rise.
Into Cairo, onto the airport and goodbye Egypt, but not really, it's just see you soon.