Coming to America

I just wanted to quickly share something that I hear often from average Egyptians I meet on the street.

Today we went to our local “Fuji film” store to scan my writing homework to send to my professor. We spoke for a minute with Osama, who works in the store and is probably is his mid to late twenties and is unmarried. He asked where I was from in the States and then told me that he has family in California. He said they have been there for forty years and are happy but do not have very much money. I asked him if he has every visited the US. He said no, rubbed his fingers together in the universal $ sign, and said he wished he could go.

Again, the socio-economic culture in Egypt does not afford many of its citizens the opportunity to leave the country for the US or Europe to either work or to “start a new life.” At least half of the Egyptians I meet-those who are not students at AUC-want to move to the US or Europe in order to work, but are completely financially incapable (the majority of students who go to AUC have either already been to the US or likely have the financial means to go) . It is easier for Egyptians to go to other countries in the region, most often the Gulf, to earn money and then come back to Egypt to start their own businesses, help provide for their families, etc. The New York Times and other papers have written extensively on this.

Anyway, it feels akward sometimes to come from such a privileged place when I am speaking with friends on the street whose unattainable dream is to move to my country.

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