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Egypt: A Visit to an Elderly House

Ramadan is the month of “good”. That’s how Muslims regard it worldwide. So don’t get amazed if you found various forms for “good deeds” performed amongst middle age youth here or there. You can find few joining charity NGO’s preparing “Ramadan Bags” (A bag full of some Ramadan’s food essentials, like rice, oil, flour.. etc) then distribute them among the needy. You can also find people visiting the orphanages and elderly houses as well – like how BlueRose, a young Egyptian doctor and blogger, told us after her visit to an elderly house:

من أيام كنت بافطر مع مجموعة من أجمل من عرفت , هم سكان دار واحدة للمسنين , كانت أول مرة أخرج معاهم عادة كنت باشوفهم في الدار
كما قلت من قبل أكتر مشكلة بتواجه العمل العام مع المسنين هو قلة المتطوعين و المتبرعين كمان للأسف

Days ago I was breaking my fast with a group of the loveliest people I’ve ever seen – residents of the same elderly house. That was my first time to go out with them, since I usually see them inside the house.
As I said earlier the biggest problem that faces working with the elderly people is the lack of volunteers, as well as donors.

Further more, she explains the difficulty of finding volunteers in an eastern society like Egypt, for two main reasons:

من جهة لأن قاطني دور المسنين أغلبهم مصاب باكتئاب مرضي , و دا غالبا مش هاتفرق معاه أي حاجة, و بالتالي أحيانا ما يجد البعض محاولات اسعاد هؤلاء محبطة

On the one hand, it is because almost all the residents of elderly houses suffer from depression, and are therefore indifferent to anything, so volunteers find it frustrating to cheer them up.

من جهة تانية المعضلة الأخلاقية , يرى البعض أن الترفيه عن سكان دور المسنين بل و مجرد وجود دور للمسنين أصلا غير أخلاقي لأنه عامل مساعد للعاق لترك أهله

On the other hand, few people think it's immoral visiting elderly houses or even the existence of such places, in the first place, since it helps sons and daughters to give their parents away.

Then Blue Rose narrated a personal experience where she said:

كنت في فترة بافكر بنفس المنطق , ساخطة دوما على عائلات من ألقاهم في تلك الدور , حتى مرة في زيارة سابقة لنفس الدار سألنا لو كان هناك احتياج للبطاطين عند دخول الشتاء , فأجابتني المشرفة ان الدار قد وفرت لهم بطاطين فعلا , و أن هناك متبرعين قاموا باهدائهم بطاطين أخرى , لكن أغلبهم أعطاها لأبنائه!!!!!
ماعرفتش أضحك ولا اتنرفز ولا اعيط
قررت ألا أحكم على أبنائهم و لو اكراما للآباء الذين مازالوا يحملون كل هذا الحب لهم , قررت ألا اسخط عليهم ولا أدعو عليهم ولا أفكر فيهم أصلا
قررت أن يكون عملي مع الثروة الحقيقية فقط لا غير
مع أهل العطاء

I used to think in the same sense for sometime in the past, always mad at the families who threw their elderly in such houses, until one time I was in another visit and asked if more blankets were needed for winter. However, the house’s supervisor replied that already other volunteers offered blankets yet most of the elderly people preferred to give them to their children.
I didn’t know whether to laugh, get angry or cry then.
And ever since, I decided not to judge the sons, even it its only in honor of their parents who still hold that love for them and decided to focus all my work with the real treasure and no one else; just the people of giving.

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