A sign somewhere in the distric of al-ma’adi just south of Cairo. .
In September of 2017, I had one of the biggest eye-opening trips of my life. I went to Cairo, Egypt with my father, his wife Rita and her youngest son Billy. They met while my dad was in Cairo for a job opportunity in 2012 and she moved to Tallahassee, Florida with him shortly after his year of work was up. The reason we went was to reunite Rita and her other three children who had recently been left to survive on their own in Cairo. They hadn’t all been in the same room in over twelve years. .
Rita is originally from the Philippines, but had lived in Cairo for twenty years. When the kids were very young, she was treated like a maid by her husband and his mother. She was slowly but surely driven out of the house and seldom allowed around the kids because of her Filipino descent. Their dad wanted them to be raised by their grandmother and to be known as Egyptian children. In 2011 he broke the news to the kids about Rita being their biological mother. He gave them the option to see her, but only on Fridays. Being so young and naive, they were constantly dissuaded by their grandmother not to visit her on those Fridays. .
In 2014, Rita left for the United States with my dad and her youngest Billy. Sadly the kids father died just prior in 2013, so their grandmother then watched over them, or rather they watched over her. She had become extremely ill of cancer and passed away in early 2017. The kids, Beshoy, Alena and Emilie who were seventeen, fifteen and fourteen had been left in complete despair when it dawned on them that no one was around to help them. A family friend, Magda, along with other parental figures told the kids that they’d forever be on their own and that Rita would never come.