Fall 1996
Vol 5 Issue 1


Learning Communities + Technology = Connectedness?

Egypt Calling!

Real CLOUT: Learning Communities and Technology -- Developing a Community of Learners

Computers and Integrated Classrooms: Educational Reform in Two Boxes

Using Technology in Integrated Learning Communities

Are We Really Connected?

What the Electronic Forum can Teach us about Learning and Community

Integrated Learning Garden on the Web

Studio II51

CGCC and ASU East at the Williams Campus: A New Partnership in Baccalaureate Education

The Forum
The Labyrinth... Sharing
Information on Learning Technologies

Egypt Calling!
Jon Lea Fimbres, Cairo, Egypt

Ahlan wa sa'halan (Welcome to Egypt!)

Who am I and how did I end up in Egypt? I am following my BLISS! (credit to Joseph Campbell, all the storytellers at the Maricopa Community Colleges, and the sweet support of colleagues and friends). Before becoming a world traveller and philosopher, I was a counselor at Paradise Valley Community College and at South Mountain Community College. Bob Hetzl, my husband, recently left his position as Assistant Superintendent of the Kyrene School District to become the Superintendent of Cairo American College.

The Internet has been a fabulous security blanket. Private access is very new here. Until this year, the Egyptian government controlled all access to the Internet. I am told they were concerned with the creeping influence of western values and images and the uncontrolled use of the Internet by militant groups. Due to economic challenges, the government is currently encouraging privitization. Once our stuff got through customs, was unpacked and adjusted for electrical compatibility (3 months), it took one week and 2 hours to get connected. That is one of the amazing things about Egypt....some things seem to take forever and are extraordinarily bureacratic, and others are modern and efficient.

One of my greatest insights over here has been a better understanding of technology and its capabilities, at least in my life and profession. I have always learned what I needed to know to be professionally competent on the computer. I kept up with the latest software programs for careers and counseling, learned Internet and web so that I could use them in class and organizationally and learned enough about word processing and "office" technology to get my job done and delegate other projects in a somewhat knowledgeable manner. What was interesting to me was the general feeling that I was never competent enough, that there must be more to this.

Then I move to Egypt and buy a computer, all the while thinking I don't know anything. What I realized is the major ingredient is not intelligence, technological background or training, it is TIME. By reading about the set up of my computer and setting it up myself, I learned more about the parts and pieces, than hours of training could have talked about in "theory."

I regularly "surf the Web" and everytime I learn something new, I marvel at the simplicity of it all. Maybe I am a born again computer nerd but I believe that much of the lingo and continual upgrading, lead to people misunderstanding the uses and simplicity of it all. There also is so much to learn if you feel you have to know it all, but the day to day uses are quite simple and quite adequate for most.

"Living" in Egypt has many advantages. We have been able to discover parts of Egypt that aren't on most tourist stops. People are generous, kind and patient with foreigners. Egyptians seem to get a lot of entertainment out of watching and helping all of us adjust. They have dealt with intruders for thousands of years. I want to share this side of Egypt with you. The landscape, people, and culture inspire photos and description.

Here is the fascination of Egypt, nothing is as it appears. Indirect is better than direct.....there is always some hidden meaning in everything.

In my quest for ways to explain my feelings and observations in a discreet, yet honest way, I ran across the following inspirational thought. The author, ginda simpson (her choice of spelling), has spent the past two years trying to find a way to describe all of the mixed feelings and experiences that come with living in Egypt. I asked her if I could send you her thoughts and she was very willing to share.

Welcome to Egypt
ginda simpson

Allah has willed that you live temporarily in Egypt. Submit. Like sunshine, Egypt will help you grow if you don€t pull down the blinds.

Be discreet. Be friendly. Be sensitive. Hear the call to prayer. And pray. Laugh often. Drink Stella only when necessary. Never ask directions if you want to find your destination...When you drive, honk your horn. Remember that goats always have the right of way.

Be a child. You are living in the world's largest sandbox. Dust often or don't dust at all. Discover freedom on a felucca. Remember that the mosque is a house of God. Be gentle to the donkeys and the children. Their lives are harsh. Fast at least one day during Ramadan. Then break the fast with a Moslem friend.

There is still magic and mystery in this ancient land. Savor the moments.

In a coming edition, I will describe an incredible coral reef adventure and Sinai Wildlife Project. I have to toodle off to an oasis and go bird-watching and practice my Arabic. Virtual life is fun but the real thing is much more satisfying and spectacular.

Ma Salaama - Jon Lea

-t h e   l a b y r i n t h-

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