Thursday, October 28, 2010

AUC Workers

I don't know why I am writing this. I think it's because I saw a worker clean after a student after his shift has ended yesterday. I think that was it.

I think it's because of the corrupt system everywhere, or in the case of the American University in Cairo, since I have no evidence of corruption, I would refer to it as bureaucracy. I wanted to talk to my professor before I wrote this but I cannot reach him.

So, this is entirely based on tweets I have read, and things the warman has told me earlier this month.

Money flows constantly and tremendously into the AUC bank accounts. The simplist example would be tution fees (2010/2011) per credit hour;
  • 1st level Egyptian undergraduate student = 2830 EGP
  • 2nd level Egyptian undergraduate Student = 4039 EGP
  • 1st level International undergraduate student = $599
  • 2nd level international undergraduate student = $855
  • Egyptian graduate student = 2830 EGp
  • Egyptian LLM/MBA student = 3312 EGP
  • International graduate student = $855
  •  Egyptian non-degree student = 4039 EGP
  • International non-degree student = $855
There are 5055 undergraduate students and 1148 graduates students enrolled at AUC.

I know I haven’t made my point yet but I just needed to set things straight first. That this is as much money they make, disregarding the AUC Press, the bookstore, the donations, USAID and so on.

Blue collar workers in AUC receive a net salary of a bit over 600 Egyptian pounds. And the average AUC student spends at least as much on campus in a month. But the mere fact that they belong to two very different socioeconomic backgrounds and groups does not mean that the workers should be that ill-treated. One could argue that government workers receive around the same amount of money monthly, but one could also argue that workers in the government benefit from informal redistributive methods in addition to occasional bonuses. Let alone that government resources are “limited” and “very thinly spread/diluted” (not that I necessarily agree)

I know of one labor economics professor who has sent her students to do some fieldwork with the workers and make them aware of their conditions. There came a point when they had no contracts, eventually, more students were aware of the workers’ state and work conditions, let alone the workers themselves.

They would calculate costs of living of which their salaries were but a fraction. Yesterday the demonstration and strike started. The workers have stopped cleaning the campus, and students are sitting in. The workers' demands are posted here. AUC workers were promised a 5% raise this year, a promise that was never fulfilled, and the sad thing is, with too much bureaucracy, if a change is to result from such pressure being exerted on the university, nothing is to happen before September of 2011.

As I write this, 10 representatives are on their way, or are actually in a meeting with AUC Vice President for Planning and Administration Brian MacDougall

Links to photos: here. here. here

It is also worth mentioning that students are supported by professors and administrators. Some, that is, and not all, the sad thing is that some students are actually opposing the demos.

Monday, October 25, 2010

How to be Happy

So Nikolett tagged me! Thank you, love! I will answer the questions soon!

Thank you all for your lovely comments. I need you to understand that I am such a daddy's girl so it was hard. It is all good now, though.

So I was thinking a while ago. I happen to do that, a lot. Mostly in the bathroom. Or while driving.

I was thinking of the person I would have liked to be,

  1. I wish I could have my favorite quote tattooed on me.
  2. I wish I had narrower hips.
  3. I wish I had clearer skin.
  4. I wish I was less of a troublesome person, I really wish my parents would believe that I am a responsible person.
  5. I wish I was more punctual.
  6. I wish I worked with the same people I work with now, only at a better place, because we all deserve better working conditions.
  7. I wish I could take time off and go backpacking around Europe.
  8. I wish my parents would let me do that.
  9. I wish I would stop procrastinating. Because it's about time that I do.
  10. I wish I had the words to explain things that I can't explain.
  11. I wish I can see my grandfather again, because I have so much to tell him. SO MUCH!!

But then, I think again, I think again and I am thankful for all the things I am not.

  1. I can't have a tattoo because my faith doesn't allow it. And I am thankful I have enough faith to not get a tattoo
  2. My hips are awesome. They are. I have curves, like any other North African woman.
  3. My skin is well, my skin is okay.
  4. My parents think I am irresponsible because they love me and I am their eldest and I sometimes act like a 16 year old. And they have to tell me off. And it's humbling. It's a reminder, that I will always be their little girl. They brought me into this world, and for that I am thankful.
  5. At least I acknowledge the fact that I need to be more punctual!
  6. I have a job, I work with great people! And that could be the only reason why I am still working where I am working. At the government, putting up with the bureaucracy, and the backwardness of it all.
  7. I have so much to look forward to in my life. I am yet to go backpacking.
  8. My parents actually care.
  9. I have things to do, and when I cross something off of that to-do list, it feels so good!! SO GOOD!
  10. I have other ways of communication. A smile, a look, a touch. I am thankful for all my five senses.
  11. I know my grandfather is watching over me. I know he knows. I know he's smiling now. I know it. And he is proud of me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fill in the Blanks. (and a rant)

{photo by Photos Day! via We Heart It
1.   I am       just another face in the crowd who tries to prove otherwise    .

2.  I wish   I didn't live with my parents, and I wish I could get a tattoo  .

3.  I like       the sun, the sea, coffee. I like books, and pens, and paper obviously    .

4.  I can    make people smile  .

5.  I hope      I sort things out with my father .

6.  I think        I've been blessed with beauty in my life    .

7.  I was       always (and still am) the shorter eldest sister      .

I haven't blogged in a long while. A lot has been going on. Mostly perfect. Well, until this morning, at least. I had this not-so-little argument with my father (my dad and I are usually close) and it sort of escalated, and I started to cry. I hate crying in front of people, and yes, even my parents. So I excused myself. Without waiting for his response, which I think has made things worse. He's in his room now. And here I am, pretending to study, because that's the only thing that he pays for now. Otherwise, I am independent.

Also, I lost a friend this morning- or last night. We weren't really close, but you could tell. You could tell he was a very, very nice person. He was. He was one of those people who had hope in their eyes, hope despite the unfairness the world has through their way. He was that guy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Do you ever feel content with now? That feeling where there is absolutely no room for nostalgia? (Well, except for this morning when my sister and I left the house to go to work, together in the lift/elevator, and it reminded me of our schooldays, that was one nostalgic moment)

Because I feel like I am at that point in my life when I am so happy with the here, and the now. I don't miss being younger, here is good. Here is perfect.

There is this comfort here that just came so naturally, so instantly. Like eyes you can look into and never quite reach the bottom of the sea that is their wilderness. The wilderness that is the perfect lace of past delicacy and a hope for a future lightness. And a hope; a hope for eternal happiness.

It leaves me in awe.
It leaves me so much in awe that I become speechless.
And it take a huge amount of awe for me to reach the point a of loss for words.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thank you, Friday!

1.   The first thing I do in the morning to start my day is       have water, coffee and pray  .

2.  Today I wish I was   writing something that's worth reading. I wish I was at the beach, too  .

3.  If I had an extra $100 in my bank account today I'd       add another 150 and buy a new iPod    .

4.  Tomorrow     is Saturday, and I never plan my days ahead .

5.  Two things that don't go together are     private and public sector fusion, or my county's lame attempt at "technocrats" .

6.  Something I can never pass up at the grocery store is        a bottle of water and chewing gum   .

7.  The last time I tried something new was        last week    .

I haven't done this in a while, thank you Lauren!

My dad had been away for the week and he came back yesterday. And well, I realized I had missed him, I come back home and find him and hug him. I love my dad, and he, in the most sincere of tones, asks me "how are you?" and I talk to him, I tell him what happened while he was away (politics and Nobel Prizes, and such) I told him I am okay. I am perfectly okay. 
And yesterday was a good day actually, except at work, it's now the weekend and I am perfectly content with it. Yesterday there was a huge crowd and I got involved in conversations about so very random things, including if I should go about calling myself an economist, I don't know if I am to go as far..

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October, already!

When I come to think of the fact that it's October, that 2010 is almost coming to an end, I am suddenly in awe...

Because when I think of it, when I look back and review the year- I realize that it has been such a festive year. 2010 has been good to me so far. My life as I know it has ended, but with endings, come new beginnings.
New beginnings that are so full of possibility, and choice, and light, and just all things positive and optimistic. Beginnings are so fresh. And it is that thought, that very thought, that makes me go through the endings-the goodbyes-with an accepting heart.
Oh, how I want a real Autumn, one when leaves fall off their trees- with smiles on their faces- because they are going to a better place, a place full of joy and glee and echoes of laughter. The sounds of dry leaves under the feet of children and couples and best friends, warming their hearts and liberating their souls. But our Autumn is still such a beautiful one- because I can still go to the beach and I am so looking forward to it. Red Sea, I miss you!

yes, I had you in mind as I wrote this.