Our early morning Suhoor rendezvous picks up on some interesting topics, with the Shuyookh van die Kaap highlighting how difficult the demands of some Mutawallis can be on Imaams in the Cape. Also I am amazed to learn that Sheikh Ahmed Sedick had completed his Islamic studies in Kuwait of all places!
Early morning consultation takes place after Fajr at the Makene Masjid. Am gratified to note how the Convoy renews its spirituality daily with a collective recitation of Surah Yaseen, beautiful Athkaar and a Dua. There is also good news from the border where the Convoy members have managed to make an early crossing and Brother Shakiers bags will reach him, after all.
Farewell to Zambia and back to the airport, where for the first time ever I have to take off my shoes for a security scan. Our Air Kenya flight makes stopovers in Nairobi and Khartoum before touching down in Egypt. Thus, technically the convoy still gets to visit destinations it originally planned to touch base with by land, but had to call off for a variety of reasons.
Iftaar in the sky is a matter of much contention with everyone having their own Fatwa on the exact time to break fast. When consensus is reached, it turns out to be a most beautiful sight of Muslim brotherhood and sisterhood in the sky with the Convoy and other passengers from Egypt exchanging the little food they’ve managed to stow, with each other. Proudly Muslim and United wherever we are. Sky or earth, our bond of faith is unshakeable.
Barring for some delays, the flight proceeds smoothly. Its the way the flight ends on all the legs of the trip that certainly ain’t smooth and gets passengers fearing for the worst. On every occasion, the pilot almost nosedives the plane to the ground with an incredible thud. Air Kenya, hope you’re taking notice
Egypt mesmerizes even from above and I am eagerly looking forward to a much longer stay in this incredible Islamic nation. My first impressions of a nation in transition are overwhelmingly positive. Friendly faces to greet us and quick processing time at immigration. And then a little snag. After glancing through my passport and posssibly noticing the numerous Saudi visas, the officer decides that he needs further clarity and infers that I head of to the immigration help desk. I fear the worst and images of haunting interrogations flash through my frightened head. But soon I’m jolted out of my nightmare by the officer at the desk who lets me through with little hassle.
We cannot establish contact with our intermediaries in Egypt and thus collectively decide to arrange alternative accomodation for the night. With such an array of options to choose from we just make a decision and hope for the best.
The drive through the gridlocked streets of Cairo always brings bewilderment and amazement to first timers in Egypt and today is no different. Adding to the vibe is tonight being the 21st Ramadan and we witness first hand a Masjid packed to capacity in these wee hours of the morning. Hundereds of vehicles surround it from all directions and at the completion of Salaah, thousands come pouring out. It is a true family affair with men, women and children all being accomodated.
For our fixed accomodation, the taxi turns up at ‘The Oasis Paradise Hotel’ Soon enough we discover that it is owned by Copts and the area we are residing in is predominantly Coptic. Nonetheless, a rate is agreed upon and we settle down for the night. A major plus factor is the free wifi connection at Oasis that breaks the drought of connectivity that we were suffering. I take full advantage to update our online journal(Africa 1 Gaza Aid Convoy page on Facebook) for the many days we were offline.