I always heard that Egypt has many beautiful places, but I only managed to go to a few of them, mainly because of my busy schedule. Fortunately, that changed nearly two weeks ago when I attended the summer training for MERETI in a wonderful place called SEKEM, a Guest House about 90 minute drive from Heliopolis, Cairo. This was my first-time hearing about this beautiful remote place. When I first entered SEKEM, I was astonished, mainly because on my way I was surrounded with desert, some scattered trees and buildings, the typical image we see in lots of places in Cairo, and suddenly that image changed, and green was everywhere.
SEKEM is an Ecovillage built by the late Ibrahim ABOULEISH, who had a vison of creating several SEKEMS throughout EGYPT, as I think he considered SEKEM as a life style and not just a place that offers various services. The project started in 1977, as I was told by two wonderful ladies who are permanent residents in SEKEM when they gave the MERETI group a tour of the place. Inside SEKEM, there are several factories manufacturing organic foods, mainly cultivated from the farms owned by SEKEM, in addition to a factory making handmade clothes and toys for children, a school for the children, where anyone can attend, a nursery, a hospital, a guest house for any visitors interested in staying, and many farms. Furthermore, you can see some animals just wandering and enjoying the safety of SEKEM environment where they don’t have to worry about being hit by a car and where food and water are always available.
For me, it was so joyful waking up in the morning and all you have to do is stretch out of bed, open the door of your room and here it is, green areas everywhere with the beautiful picture of sun light rays on the grass, the sprinklers spreading water everywhere and the sounds of birds chirping. Even now, as am writing this blog, I can just relax in my chair and dose off in my thoughts, as I look throughout the glass shield of my bedroom door leading in to the garden surrounding the Guest House. At night, you can sit on the wooden benches scattered around the Guest House and enjoy the sight of stars shining in the sky and the feeling of the soft night air, of course, if the mosquitos allow you to so.