I’m going to do this post in three parts. Because…it warrants that many.
So my Grandma gave me some money to do something nice for the boys around Christmas. I also had some money from the last of the wire stuff that sold and my housemate had some money from extra tutoring that she wanted to use as something nice for the boys. So, since at Christmas they all get a new outfit and new shoes and a toy/thing of their choice I thought it would be cool for them to go on a little field trip.
I was still in the brainstorming phase. But I as I was sending the director lady an email about other stuff, in there I included “Hey, so I was thinking it might be cool sometime if the older boys could take a day trip to the pyramids to see outside of the capital a little bit and learn some about their history. What do you think?”
This is where things began to swiftly spiral out of my hands.
Two hours later I’m at the center running a program and the director of the older boys center, Musa, asks to speak with me in the office. I got a little worried because this is the first time he has ever asked to speak with me privately. Turns out that instead of just emailing me back with her opinion, director lady went ahead and called Musa and talked to him about it. Yikes.
He was totally jazzed by the idea. Thought it was great and wanted to plan it for the upcoming weekend. I was like “Um…maybe not so soon? There’s no hurry…” He’s like well I already told the boys so we need to do it soon. Oh my.
So it ends up being planned two weekends from then. I asked him for estimations on costs. The bus, the food, etc. So I could get an idea. These are all things I had been hoping to discuss way beforehand, before anyone knew or anything was planned. I had wanted to dialogue about these sorts of things before any wheels had been set in motion.
Too late for that.
I asked him every day that I went to the center again for these estimations. I knew I needed to give them the food money in advance so they could prep and everything.
Fast forward to last Thursday, the day before we are supposed to go. I get there and thankfully Musa is there. He’s like, “Hey, we need the money for food.” and I’m like “Really? Cuz I’ve been trying to give it to you for a week and a half!” So we sit down on the office with Mama Shama, the cook (lovely lady, calls me her daughter, super sweet), and like four of the other teachers. Shama and another teacher had wrote out a list of the food costs and it was ridiculous. Bonkers over the top.
It was a heart sinking moment. When you realize things are completely slipping from your hands.
Sat in the office for the next half hour or so while Musa went over the list line by line crossing things off and making it more realistic. I sat there thinking “Thank God!” as he said things like “Bottled water? No. We can take jerry cans. Apples (which are pretty expensive) and bananas? No, just bananas.” As he is doing this some of the teachers are seeming annoyed that he is penny-pinching their crazy wish list and the others seem annoyed for even being there. At this point I’m starting to feel like, forget it! We don’t even need to go! At one point they ask me what the most we can spend is. I can’t really answer that because I still don’t know how much the transport will cost and I don’t have a good handle on the realistic cost for 30 people for 3 meals.
Musa ends up halving the food budget, thank goodness. They still were getting chicken and some meat, and eggs, so it was still special. That’s fine.
Then Musa mentions that he isn’t going. And so and so and so and so aren’t going either. It will be me, two younger teachers that I don’t know that well, and the Islamic studies teacher who I also don’t know that well. I start to get more nervous. That is a lot of travel time and logistical decisions that will need to be made without the director. Plus I’m kind of annoyed because when I talked to Musa in the first place he said “This will be very good, even I have not seen the pyramids.” and seemed like he wanted to go. None of the teachers had seen them and what I thought would be a cool opportunity is actually something, kind of, no one really cares to do or see. Ah!
Then the guy who will be driving the bus for us comes in and they agree on a price that seems high, but what to I know?
As I head out after all that I stop in the kitchen to talk to Shama to make sure she is coming with us the next day. She said, “Yes, of course! I told Musa that he can’t leave you by yourself with all those men and boys. Don’t worry your Mom is coming to look after you.” I felt quite relieved. At least there would be someone there so I didn’t feel on my own in the group!
I left feeling hopeful that it would be a good trip, but also recognizing the potential for disaster.