Cairo Stadium
October 17, 2003

Cairo Children's Cancer Hospital Fundraiser

Link to Hospital Website
Kristina and Cameron Signing Autographs after Performances

We received overflowing appreciation from this beautiful Egyptian audience of approximately 60,000 here in Cairo last night.

We could hear the crowd singing along with us at many times. And during our improvision there were moments of ecstatic appreciation.

Our energy is now reverberating in ways that can help the fundraising for this Children's Cancer Hospital being constructed here.

And our energy is now reverberating in ways that can help Americans understand how we, as a nation, could be reaching further out toward the vast majority of Middle Easterners who work toward the common good.

We will do everything we can to help other Americans overcome the fears about the Arab-speaking peoples which have become so exaggerated.

We met so many dedicated people who are working literally day and night toward the completion of this hospital. The structure of the hospital is completed. Now the equipment must be purchased and installed. We are honored to have been included and we will continue to try and support this project.

We wish to thank Ayman, a new Egyptian friend, who jumped in with us to play the drum for our performances.

We wish to thank the Egyptian TV crews for their coverage of the event and for inviting us to so many interviews after our performances.

We wish to thank all the coordinators here at this marvelous festival for their endless support in working out the ever-elusive last-minute details.

Egyptians live in a constant upswell of positive energy which somehow makes things come together at the last minute. Much of the work seems to happen on some telepathic level. They do not think or work linearly. Everything happens at once. They swim in a constant flow of powerful energetic currents. Beatifically smiling faces pop us everywhere. Anger rises when there are bottlenecks in the flow. Westerners find it exhausting yet somehow magical. All I can say is that I feel honored.

The last few days have been an amazing whirlwind. We are only now beginning to adjust our internal clocks to the 8-hour time change from Colorado. We are night-owls by nature, but being awake every night until the sun rises has been ridiculous. The night before the festival gave Kristina less than one hour of total sleep. Being hailed by an adoring Egyptian audience as the "beautiful Miss America" buoyed her spirits, however... to say the least.

We played our first show more or less on time after watching delightful selections of children's dances and Saidi folkloric music and dance: a girl dancing with two boys dressed in a horse costume... a troupe of mizmar and percussion players and a tumbling costume which appears to be two midgets wrestling but in reality is a costume worn by only one dancer...

Happy with the reception from the crowd during our first show, we began looking forward even more to our performance on the main stage. After scheduling delays which, for a while, cast doubts on whether there would even be time for all of us, we were invited up to the main stage in the center of the Cairo Stadium.

The crowd erupted with appreciation as they heard our voices... They clapped and sang along at the climactic moments in the music... We began with "Habibi Aini"... I sang a vocal taqasim (improvisation) which allowed me to pour full expression out into the crowd... They screamed with appreciation... We then played "Daret el Ayam" and Kristina's voice carried the crowd into their deep love for Um Kolthoum... We could hear thousands of them singing along with us. We finished with an Amr Diab hit: "Habibi ya Nour el Ayeen"... We sang it too fast and the guitar, which I had purchased for $60 from my friend Naser on Mohammad Ali Street only the night before, sounded terribly metallic... But we felt welcome and we felt appreciated... We wove our path from TV interview to TV interview in the deafening arena surrounding the stage... We signed autographs and shook hands in the crowd for the next hour or so...

We finally found a place to rest and, with some of our growing network of friends, both Egyptian and American, who have been surrounding and supporting us, eventually enjoyed a bowl of kosheree, one of the delicious spicy vegetarian Egyptian countryside dishes. Thank you Pat! Thank you Miriamah! Thank you Dr. Sharrif! Thank you Gamal! Mustafa...!

At the end of the evening, after a long parade of the latest top Egyptian popular singers, Amr Diab, the most popular singer of them all, was whisked magically onto the stage and we all enjoyed his energetic performance.

From Kristina:

Everyone, just to share a bit with you... I have a theory about Egyptians: they are on the road to enlightenment, although they would not use that term.

The most common comment you hear from them is "insha'allah" which means "God willing." When you say "see you tommorrow" it is always followed by "insha'allah". Every plan for the future is subject to the will of God, thus in their minds nothing is set in stone. Everything is always in a state of flux or change.

Consequently they are alert and awake. They have to be. For example, it is common for cars to whiz by pedestrians with only 6 inches clearance.

In this part of the world nothing happens as planned but somehow it all works. For all of you New Agers who are striving to learn how to live in the present momment, just come to Egypt to live for awhile. You will either get it or you will turn into a nervous wreck. It will also be a good place to come if you tend to have a controlling type of personality. Nothing here will be in your control. It is useless to even try. It is all placed in the hands of God. Again, you will either get it or you will soon catch a flight back home.

It is very safe here despite what you may have heard. I highly recommend booking a flight ASAP.

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