Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011

Let’s start with yesterday. I was prepared to offer an undergraduate class a guided discussion on the subject of classroom effectiveness. Nooooo problem. The first hint was when they told me the room had changed and off we went. Entering the new room I found a lecture hall with approx 150 faculty and graduate students already seated. The situation was less than thrilling. Upon finding out that they were expecting a “Workshop” on the topic not a Lecture on Dissertation and Thesis creation comparisons between the U.S. and Egypt. It seems that in a lecture, the speaker speaks and in a “workshop” they can ask questions. Pulling up some slides from the Dissertation Seminar, off to “Workshoping” we went. End result – it is amazing how similar our methods are. There is some variance in Chapters 2 and 3 but much more similarity than difference. A request was made to continue next week. Will be interesting to see if the delivery changes with advance notice. Learning point: even if you don’t know what it is, prepare for it. Always, always have more material prepared than you think you will need.

That was yesterday. Today Badar, our driver, picked me up early and we drove to the sanctum sanctorum somewhere in the inner workings of Cairo. After carefully negotiating narrow streets reminisant of a Humphrey Bogart movie, we stopped and Badar gestured for me to get out of the car. We were at a sidewalk tea shop. Actually, there were two propane bottles each powering burners, one for water, one for some kind of bean looking almost soup. The “chairs” were concrete blocks from some long ago destroyed building, no tables and our roof was a tree. Several “working folks” were gathered and viewed the American with curiosity and sincere interest. Badar introduced me to several of them as well as the owner. The best part of the restaurant was the owners “hubblie bubblie” a large smoking devise which uses scented tobacco. I don’t know what he was smoking but he really liked it. He suggested that he was ready to move his restaurant to America since he had his first American customer. When the others told him he would have to leave his hubblie bubblie in Egypt, he said that he would stay. Everyone had a good laugh at the proprietors’ expense. Bader and I finished our tea and went on to pick up Dr Frahim. A great beginning to a great day.
Regards from Suez

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