Egypt: Stay Or Leave?

Whenever something goes wrong or I miss an important meeting because I’m stuck in traffic, I find myself filled with an anger and rage so strong towards Egypt, the easiest party to blame.

I find myself  facing a dilemma every single day about whether to stay or leave, wishing for a chance to flee the country and never return. Yet, I still have certain things engraved in my heart that make me unable to just pack up and go, because we’re talking about Egypt, you know? My Egypt!

Why have you left me feeling this way, beloved Egypt? Why have you made me feel a rage and indifference towards you? Why have you made me feel a stranger in the one place I should be calling home?

I’m becoming quite schizophrenic; sometimes feeling like a ticking bomb waiting to explode, while other times I find myself feeling the love, loyalty and gratefulness of being exactly where I want to be (in that specific moment). That made me wonder about the struggle we all face everyday just thinking about whether to stay or leave.

Let me start off with some of the main reasons that, in my opinion, would get me on the next plane out of here and then tell you why I’ve (so far) decided to stay.



The incompetence of the health care system


egypt health care

It’s without a doubt that ever since the whole Heba El Ayouti incident, the rage and frustration over Egypt’s failing health care system has been magnified by zillions. Seeing innocent souls being victimized by the recklessness and incompetence of the system that is supposedly in charge of saving lives drives me crazy.

Unfortunately, doctors aren’t here to save lives, their sole purpose is to make money. They don’t treat us as human beings, not even as patients, but just as “cases” that need to be fixed with the least amount of effort and time possible to make room for other patients and therefore make more money.

Every day, many innocent lives are taken because of the careless behaviour and attitude of everyone within the medical field. Unless you have the connections and perseverance, your voice will not be heard and no one will be punished or held accountable for the loss of your loved ones.



The inadequate educational system



What do schools do other than kill creativity and lower kids’ IQ levels to a bare minimum? (Not to mention strip the parents of every single penny they have to give their kids a chance of a decent education.) So why do we keep our kids here, when we could be paying the same or even less and be certain of obtaining a higher quality of education elsewhere?!

And those are only the high-end private schools, what about the people who can’t afford them, what do public schools have to offer?



The corruption



I’m not just talking about the government, because there’s no point in even going there. I’m talking about the corruption in every little thing that drives you crazy. When a country stops treating you as a human being, it strips you of all the values and morals you believed in.

Rarely do you find any sort of conscience, whether it’s someone trying to sell you ruined goods, or having to call a service 10 times to do the same job and still not getting it fixed or how everything in the country works with what we call as “kosa”. People aren’t awarded based on their achievements, but rather on their connections.

I’m tired of having to pay bribes to get things done, or look for a “wasta” to land a certain job.



The insecurity



Aren’t we supposed to feel safe and secure in the place we call home? I’m 27 years old and i still have a curfew because being out alone has become dangerous. I used to argue with my parents that all the sexual harassment and rape stories, the kidnapping, the hijacking and even killings we’d hear were just rumours that the media was spreading.

I believed it was in someone’s best interest to make us feel scared and insecure. Only when I started seeing these things happen to people within my circle, people that I personally knew, that it started to hit me that there really is no safety in Egypt.

Every time I have to use a highway or an empty road, I find myself reading every prayer I know, going full speed just wishing that I’ll return home safe and sound in one piece. And you find yourself hearing the same stories and even worse happening in broad daylight. What happened to you, Egypt?



The lack of job opportunities



We spend a fortune on a decent education just to be sure that we will be rewarded with a decent job, but what happens is far from that. Regardless of what university you’ve graduated from or what your GPA was, finding a job is partly luck and partly connections.

Forget about your passion and your dream job, they don’t exist. If you don’t have the luxury to pursue your passion and talents knowing that they won’t pay off for quite a long time, then you’ll end up just like everyone else doing a job you hate just for the money.

Not only that, but you’ll be over-worked, treated like crap and expected to give 200% to the job without getting any appreciation or financial rewards. And if you object, you’ll be let go in a blink of an eye because there are 1,000 other people who can replace you.



Believe me, my list can go on and on, so that got me thinking, why am I still here? Why are we all still here? What makes us decide to stay and put up with all this corruption?






No one pampers us quite as much as the delivery guys. Yes, they’ve made us couch potatoes, but who careeees? Don’t you just love having the option of ordering anything right to your doorstep? From lunch to groceries to pharmacies and even the makwagy, there’s no service that isn’t just a phone call away and that is why we love Egypt so much!



The incomparable Egyptian sense of humour



If there’s one thing Egyptians can do best, it’s make you laugh. We have the ability to turn everything into a joke and laugh our troubles away. Humour is a medicine that we’ve become quite addicted to, so why leave when everyone around us shares our pain and yet lights up the mood with their humour and smiles?



The people and their hearts of gold



Sometimes Egyptians can make you boil with rage, but deep down in their hearts, they’re truly kind people. I never worry about getting a flat tire because I’m sure someone will always stop to help. Someone always offers to carry my heavy luggage (even though I’m quite capable of carrying it myself), and there are hundreds of people you know you can turn to and truly depend on.

One of the things I love most about Egyptians is how easy it is to make them happy. We truly have hearts of gold.



The chaos has kind of grown on us



We complain about the traffic and the chaos, but it’s become a big part of who we are that we’ve gotten so accustomed to it. Whenever we go anywhere else, we find ourselves missing the noise, the liveliness.

The city that never sleeps holds a special place in our hearts, making it difficult and frustrating to live somewhere else where everything is closed by 8pm!



The culture and simplicity



One of the things I love most about Egypt is the richness of its culture. We have roots and origins that go back centuries and with that comes the vast amount of traditions that shape a big part of our lives.

Whether it’s because Egyptians have been through a lot, or they are just simple people, it is very easy to get through to their hearts and make them happy. Things as simple as a smile, a joke or just spending time with your loved ones is enough to turn around our day and make us genuinely happy.



The weather



Yes, you heard me, this weather! If you’ve been to Europe or the Gulf you’ll thank the Lord for this weather! We don’t freeze to death in the winter or get a glimpse of hell in the summer. So our moderate weather is something to be thankful for.



And last but not least, it all comes down to family



They say home is where the heart is and my heart is split between those I call family who mostly live here. Everything becomes a bit more bearable when you at least have those loved ones to go home to or call up and complain about your boss or the system or how freaking broke you are.

I always find myself wishing that I could take all those people I love and move away, start somewhere new. But I know it would never be the same as in Egypt.

And of course, let’s not forget about responsibility. How am I supposed to leave my parents alone? Who will be there to take care of them? I’ve been honoured by my parents to earn the title of my mum’s “Personal Chauffeur”, how could I just let that title go?



WE SAID THIS: Check out 10 Reasons Egypt Is a Great Place to Be an Expat.