Clara’s apostolic experience

My experience in Egypt and Nabeul-Tuni

Alejandra and I started our journey traveling together to Cairo and then to Berba. Sr. Darlene welcomed us at the airport with a big smile and great joy. George the sisters’ friend picked us up and brought us to our home and the community was waiting for us with a delicious lunch, (Arabic fish).

I applied for my visa for Tunis from Egypt so I waited for 2 weeks. I am sure that God is the only one who is providing me this fantastic experience. I really had a deep time there.

I went to Berba which is one of the places we have a community in Egypt. It is a small village and natural scenery I saw there was the most beautiful, surrounded by the desert area, the green fields, donkeys, cows, buffalos, hens and cocks and so on and the blue sky made a combination that I felt myself out of the world.

Sr. Jackie, the children, teachers and some neighbors welcomed us nicely. During my time in Berba I did some activities with the children in our home and in the kindergarten. I met kind and lovely people; it seemed to me that I knew them for ages. It was funny and interesting, that even though I did not understand the language I was able to manage and because Sr. Darlene and Sr. Jackie translated our conversation too.

Coming back from Berba to Cairo I was amazed to see for the first time the Nile River. The River was flowing gently and the vast hill, the city was all around. I could not believe how beautiful it was until I saw it with my own eyes. I have seen many rivers but to me this was a truly amazing feeling to witness this unique River. That was inspiring scenery that I will never forget.

Sr. Darlene took me to some historical places in Cairo and I was impressed admiring the variety of such a nice country.

Sr. Mona was attentive about my visa. She went 3 times to the embassy but they did not allow her to go in but the third time, she said to the security guard: “I will wait for the ambassador until he comes out because I only want to know an answer, yes or no” so the security guard let her go in and finally the ambassador came and she got my visa.

I finally arrived in Nabeul. Nabeul is a city of Tunis located in North Africa. The population is Muslim, and they speak Arabic and French.

Sr. Agnes and Sr. Aracely welcomed me at the airport; I was glad and grateful to meet my sisters. We had a delicious Tunisian lunch.

I definitely bless God to be able to admire this spectacular landscape surrounded by vineyards, the fields full of plantations: oranges, olives, wheat, lemons, peaches and so on, the majesty of the mountains, the indescribable color of the ocean, the particular kindness, generosity and the openness of the people. Such a great blessing.

My first afternoon I went to the Creche, “Association la voix de l’enfant Nabeul” but only with the women who were doing handicrafts. Sr. Agnes and Sr. Aracely introduced us (Rozene and I). The women welcomed us with a warm greeting and a big smile.

The Creche started 17 years ago because of the needs of the women and their babies. Now it is a place where the women work with the handicrafts, embroidery and painting on glass or women who have different needs like: studies for their children, health care or any needs what they have and also for babies who are abandoned by their mothers temporarily or permanently.

I remember the first day, some of the babies were sleeping, some playing or just lying down in their own places welcoming me with an innocent smile or just with a tender glance, and it was an unforgettable experience.

Then Salwa the director of the Association, Sr. Aracely and Hannen the translator instructed us how to care for the babies, they said:

  • First: the most important is the eye contact all the time because this is the way the babies know who is with them.
  • Second: the time of recreation or playing has an important value because it is a moment to stimulate them.
  • Third: to be attentive all the time about their improvement or some difficulties in order to help them from their infancy.

I found it very positive and very well organized because this atmosphere is important for the babies.

Language has been an interesting experience: some of the staff speaks some basic English and we have managed to communicate with one another but with the babies I have not had any problem to communicate because I speak with them in Spanish and I know that they understand me very well through their lovely smile.

Hannen has become my angel because she has been with us these days in order to help us understand.

I really appreciate this unique experience in a Muslim country to witness the relationship and friendship that our sisters have built here and the openness of the people. Once in our daily community prayer at home we prayed with our friends and it is meaningful to share our different way to worship God.

I am sure if we know how to appreciate the variety of cultures we can build a world of peace.

And Mary said, my soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. (Lk. 1; 46-55)

Novice Clara, Mai 2015