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Your Guide to Good Deeds On-The-Go In Egypt

10 months ago By Mona Bassel

Helping others is a surefire way to feel good, but not everyone has the time to volunteer at a charity organization. But here’s the good news: it’s not black and white! You can still help others while you’re out and about, and here’s how: 

Blankets

Credit: Al Ahram Weekly

It’s frustrating seeing someone less fortunate with not so much as a roof over their head, and then heading back home to your own warm bed. Purchase a few blankets and keep them in the trunk of your car –if you visit the right shops, it probably won’t cost too much. Winter may be almost over, but Cairo nights are still rather cold. If you see someone who looks cold on your way home, just park on the side of the road and give them a blanket – super easy, and you’ll head home feeling wonderful.

 

Restaurant Leftovers

If you had dinner at a nice restaurant but didn’t manage to finish your plate, ask to take it to-go and just hand it over to the next underprivileged person you see. It could be a homeless person, a poor child or your bawwab, but they will definitely appreciate the gesture. Bonus: restaurants are already notorious for serving excessive portions, so skipping some of the calories may be good for you. Looks like Joey Tribbiani was right when he said there were no selfless good deeds.

 

Leftovers from Home

In a typical Egyptian household, parents always seem to tell their kids to finish their food, even if they’re full. This only further contributes to the country’s obesity epidemic, and it doesn’t make sense considering there are others out there who would probably kill for a bite of your food. Here’s a good guideline: if the food looks good, pack it in a foil plate and give it to anyone who seems like they could use a warm meal. If it looks too messy or offensive to give to a person, put it in a plate or a box and leave it for stray animals. Everybody wins!

 

Chocolate and Candy

Credit: Ahram Weekly

Child beggars always pose a problem; on one hand, if you give them money, they might just give it to the asshole forcing them to beg. On the other hand, if you give them nothing, you feel like shit. There’s a reasonable solution here: carry around a box of small chocolates or candy bars and take one out each time you see a child in need. If it’s summer and you’re afraid this advice will attract every ant in Cairo to your handbag, opt for balloons, old toys, books, or anything you deem appropriate. Your kindness could have a major impact in how a poor child sees the world, remember that.

 

Water

Drinking water is such a basic commodity that we automatically assume that any person would have access to it. In Egypt, not so much. If it’s a hot summer day and you can’t do anything else, just carry around a few bottles of (preferably chilled) water. This is especially relevant for travel roads, like the road to Hurghada or Sinai –we oftentimes see workers forced to stay under the sun for hours on end, and a drink of water can work wonders.

 

Smile

When all else fails, just offer a disadvantaged person a smile –with proper eye contact! It’s a horrible feeling when hundreds of people pass by you without so much as a glance. Making eye contact reminds you (and the person in front of you) that we are all the same. We are all human beings, and we could have just as easily been in their places. While it doesn’t make the world any fairer, it’s an important reminder of compassion.

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