Addendum to Minia
We do not know his name - but it would be easy to find out.
He was born and grew up in Minia. HE studied Egyptology at the University of Minia. He has a job with the Inspectors of Archaelology. Every foreign dig is assigned an Egyptian Inspector in Egypt. He explained the tombs and the main paintings to Bob. His English was good but not flawless and a bit limited in some areas.
There is a point to this. He sat beside me in the guest room after we walked back from the hill. It was stiflingly hot but not too bad under the fans. He was happy and telling me about the tombs I had missed. Then he paused for effect.
"I am going to Cambridge," he said. "Next year."
I was both impressed and a bit surprised. This is a poor town and I was amazed that this boy would have the money to educate himself to this level, and a bit surprised that he would have won a scholarship with his English at its current level.
"I met a very nice woman from Cambridge," he went on, "and she said to send her all my papers about my education and she would look at them." He was bubbling with joy. "When I go to Cambridge I can get a job anywhere I want, even in Cairo Museum."
I asked if he had sent the papers.
"Yes," he said, "and I am waiting very impatience to hear when I will start."
I asked how he would keep himself as England was expensive. He explained very earnestly that he would work for a while before he studied to make the money he needed. At this point I really started hearing alarm bells as there is no way he would be allowed into Australia to do this.
He was so excited. He was bubbling and happy and his brown eyes were dancing with anticipation. I felt so sad for him as he was so obviously counting so much on this mystery woman. Perhaps she will be able to help him- but the idea of a young Egyptian public servant on about $40US a month actually getting to England to study seemed impossible.
I asked when he sent the papers and how long he had been waiting.
"Three days ago but I am very impatience."
If anyone has an enormous sum of money drifting around with nothing to do I know a young Egyptian who I think would work hard and be so incredibly grateful. He would not get into Cambridge perhaps, but possibly a smaller University which runs Egyptology. I left wishing with all my heart that there was a way to make an occasional dream come true.
Maybe though the dream is just that - a dream - and he will be happier in his life in Minia if he never goes to Cambridge.