A walk by the Nile or a visit to one of your favorite spots are two of the many things that a lot of us miss nowadays. Even your regular gathering with your friends can be risky considering the rising numbers of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients and the importance of social distancing to get through this pandemic safe and sound.
Nada Zein Elden, a traveler and researcher, decided to look on the bright side of the coronavirus lockdown. She is using her Facebook travel group, Let’s Explore Egypt, as a way of rediscovering the beauty of her country from the inside of her home.
Everyday at 8 pm she goes live and talks to her 24,266 group members about the story of an Egyptian place, book, landmark or tradition. She also has a set of recommendations and interactive activities that will fill your quarantine time and give you mind-blowing facts about Egypt. “I try to always think positively. So if we are having a hard time, let’s make it easier for ourselves and go live,” Nada Zein Elden, the founder of Let’s Explore Egypt Facebook Group said.
For example, in this live video, Zein Elden was talking about the Helwan and Maadi districts, their history and their connection with Khedive Isma’il Pasha. Did you know that the name ‘Maadi’ has its origins in the Arabic word ‘Ma’adeya’, which means ferry? Maadi and Helwan, originally agricultural land, saw a boom in development that coincided with the massive social, industrial and economic reforms that Isma’il Pasha can be credited for.
To add to the excitement behind her project, Zein Elden is constantly adding new aspects to her videos. Here she is announcing going live with one of the bookstore owners of Soor el-Azbakeya’s, one of Egypt’s oldest and biggest book markets, and he has an interesting story to tell about this prominent place.
Zein Elden founded her Facebook group in 2014 as a hub for Egyptian destinations, both famous and more unusual ones. She used to organize trips to different landmarks across Egypt every weekend, and now she is engaging with a wider range of people while refreshing her own historical knowledge. “People on social media liked the idea of my live videos a lot. They are now requesting the topics of the videos, and I myself am learning new things about my country,” Zein Elden, added.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has recently launched virtual tours of historical sites as well. The first in the series was with the tomb of Queen Meresankh III near the Great Pyramids of Giza, and who knows maybe Zein Elden’s next virtual trip will be to one of those dazzling historical sites.