May  2002

     From the Editor
by Samantha Carpenter

                        Egyptian Experience

SAMANTHA  “To actually set your eyes on a structure that is older than 4500 years is amazing.”

I recently traveled to Egypt to visit my husband, who is currently stationed in the Sinai Peninsula with Task Force 2-153 “Gunslingers” of the Arkansas Army National Guard—the first pure national guard unit to perform this mission. I saw many amazing sites about which I’d like to tell you.
While touring both the pyramids at Giza and Djoser’s step pyramids at Saqqara, I couldn’t help but think about how the pharaohs of Egypt built their pyramids to withstand thousands of years of weather. I’m sure that we’ve all seen a house that is a hundred years old or older, and many of us have been to Europe and have visited castles that are hundreds of years old, but to set your eyes on a structure that is older than 4500 years is amazing. I found it extremely ironic that, while on earth, the pharaohs actually lived in houses made of mud that probably only withstood their lifetimes, but they built amazing structures for their afterlives. 

We in the building-products industry can learn a lot from the Egyptian pyramids. If we could learn how to make products endure as long as the pyramids have, we could be rich!

We can also learn from the customer service qualities that I found in Egypt. I found that most Egyptians would bend over backwards to help you out. For instance, an Egyptian citizen, Mohamed, who works with my husband at the army base, made all the arrangements for our site-seeing venture. He made sure that our tour guide was an Egyptologist, that our hotel arrangements were suitable and that we had the best seats on our Nile cruise.

While I’ve painted a beautiful picture so far, there were things about Egypt that shocked me. I couldn’t help but think how lucky many of us are to have been born in the United States. Egypt, after all, is a poverty-stricken country. You see an amazing juxtaposition of rich and poor. For instance, our Nile cruise set sail across the street from Cairo’s Four Seasons Hotel, where many oil tycoons live; a home in the Four Seasons costs millions of dollars. Ironically, right in front of the hotel, I saw children—yes, children—pedaling flowers for about a dollar. This was only one in a number of instances of appalling child labor I saw.

I feel fortunate that I was able to travel to Egypt and spend time with my husband and better educate myself about another culture. I hope my comments have helped you see a glimpse into another part of the world. 

PYRAMID1                     SPHINX

Samantha Carpenter, Editor
SHELTER magazine


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