What makes the passing of a year influential in a given society are the people and social trends that managed to create a change in the lifestyle of that society. The year 2010 saw a large number of events to attend, stories to tell and people to meet. At year's end, it seems appropriate to review and evaluate some of Egypt's lifestyle trends.
Egypt's sense of social responsibility:
Around 3000 Egyptian children a year are born with facial deformities which hinder their ability to light up the world with a smile. Operation Smile Egypt has a mission to give children the chance to smile, and ultimately to change their lives, through offering reconstructive surgery to underprivileged patients.
Meanwhile demand for child adoption in Egypt has been under the spotlight since Orphan Days, back in April. Of the 2200 orphans brought up by Dar Al-Orman, 2000 have been adopted by foster families since 1996. For those orphans yet to be adopted, Marwa Fayed continues her Toy Run and since the time of our July article has managed to gather enough toys for three more runs.
Student-based organization AIESEC recently sat down with Al-Masry Al-Youm to discuss news on the completion of its 36th year of "Achieving Impact" and supporting Egyptian youth to become change agents. The organization is planning a mega event in March 2011–the Middle East and North Africa Exchange and Leadership Development Seminar (MENA XLDS). The seminar is an annual conference and celebration of youth leadership and diversity bringing together over 250 young leaders from over 30 countries along with senior management of over 30 companies to Egypt.
Egypt's sense of well being:
Fitness awareness in Egypt took a front seat this year, with multiple fitness events to attend, classes to workout in and experts to share their knowledge. Karim Strougo, a well-known Egyptian fitness instructor and the head of SAFE academy for fitness education, added the ZEN Conference, a yoga and body awareness event, to regular fitness education occasions.
Strougo is keen to hold more events, and is planning a new addition to the annual SAFE Convention which will take place later in 2011, offering a number of educational courses that train instructors on new styles of dance, workouts and other new styles in fitness.
Tawazon, a new style of exercise that allows attendees to gain awareness of their bodies and their relation with gravity through movement and breathing techniques, has hit Egypt, creating a huge fan base. The studio, located in Youssef al-Guindy Street, building number 5, offers a new line of classes throughout next year including prenatal yoga, Chakra balancing, meditation courses and even a first level hypnosis course.
As smokers grapple with the constantly changing availability of their favorite brand of cigarettes, the first report to include comprehensive data on adult tobacco consumption in Egypt has been prepared by the Ministry of Health, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, and the World Health Organization.
We created our own report on reactions to the cigarette pack warning pictures, which range from coughing children to implied effects on masculine virility, the latest image being a set of severely rotting teeth.
Egypt's social media networking:
People are finally waking up to the need for online resources for Egypt's constantly growing life and style events. Cairo 360, a new website offering easy access to events, cinema times, reviews, shopping, and a number of other sections, was released in April 2010. The website launched Cairo360.com’s mobile-friendly site making it even easier for you to enjoy Cairo to the max.
Otlob.com, known for its amazing food-delivery service, released their own Amazon-like service, otlobmall.com. This is not the only website releasing such a service in Egypt: Giftery, a store registry and gift store, went public earlier this month.
Egypt's speed and mobility:
London Cab, a new transportation system for the Egyptian capital, brings a fleet of cars identical to the famous Hackney carriages ubiquitous in the British capital, offering airport transportation, tours of the city, or scheduled taxi services. But you may be out of luck if you want to take a London cab in Egypt and happen to be Egyptian.
News about a new service of transportation using helicopters has also been circulating in Cairo. The affordability of these new services is still questionable.
The 13th Pharoans Rally took place earlier this October. The rally takes place over a 2547km long course that traverses through the desert from Giza’s Pyramids to al-Rammak and then on to Bir Karaween, Abu Mingar, Sitra, and Siwa. The Desert Challenge Rally, which took place in December, witnessed the first Egyptian female driver to finish the race, Shaheera Mobarak.
On a slower note, traffic came to a standstill in the February showers as Al-Masry Al-Youm staff reported from all over Cairo while navigating their way home. Rain begins today and weather predictions for New Year's Eve may find us in the same predicament.
Saving lives is taking a new direction in Egypt with the Nile Ambulance. The project is a nationwide new service that began in the historical city of Luxor in 2009, where a number of boats were built to host all the necessary tools to save lives. The vessels were then released into the Nile to escort patients to hospitals. The project is heading to Cairo, after its success in Upper Egypt cities Luxor and Aswan, sometime in mid-2011.
Of course lifestyle wasn’t only about the glory and the glamor. Investigative lifestyle pieces brought light to important issues and–sometimes–hilarious mishaps.
An article about private schools faking their relationship with huge educational institutes such as Harvard and Stanford created a buzz in the educational system in Egypt. Harvard–the real one– promised to pursue a law suit against the knock-off school in Egypt, but no action has taken place so far.