Day 5: Coptic Church, Mosques, Market
Today was a fun and very interesting Sunday. Normally, I would wake up and go to church. Well, we did, but not in the same way. We got to sleep in a bit, but then we went to a Coptic church to see what Coptic Christianity is all about. The church was very old in the Coptic section of town, so we had to do some walking through a series of alleys in order to get there.
One thing I found interesting in Cairo is how everything is contrasting, but still living in harmony. I know that sounds confusing, but our guide kept talking about how Egypt is a country of contrasts living in unison. Let me explain: the old and new live side by side (literally in the same building at times). For example, we walked down a very new looking corridor to get to this VERY old church (it was over a few centuries old). Across the street from this very old church, was another old building right next to another newer building.
Not only was the architecture mixed, but the people were too. People young and old (which isn't that rare; it is common in most every country), rich and poor, white and Arab were living right next to each other. Modern day Bedouins live small tents they made in the city but still sell their wares to the men in fancy business suits walking by.
Not only that, but the landscape itself is beautiful, and trashy. The desert scape right next to the green Nile is gorgeous, especially at sunset, but the streets are littered with trash. People live in the middle of this trash and just toss their bottles of stuff in the streets when they are done with them. Yet somehow, the city looks so beautiful.
What I find the most fascinating is how the Muslims and Coptic Christians manage to live together in harmony. I have seen Coptic ladies walk up to and talk to some Muslim women and carry on like they are best friends (and who knows, they might be; I can't tell what they are saying). There doesn't seem to be any hatred or anger towards the other religion. Sure, I felt some tension between them, but it was no different than the difference some Protestants feel to Catholics and vice versa. But they were not hateful to each other as most people are led to believe.
All I know is that I felt safe and comfortable there. Even though I didn't speak the language and the culture was totally foreign, I didn't feel uncomfortable or afraid. I felt like these people liked me and had my back if something went wrong. If somebody tried to hurt me, I honestly felt like these guys standing next to me in the streets would step up to my aid and defend me.
I think we can learn a lot from the mentality of these people.
Following His Call,