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This Great Egyptian-American Lady

This Great Egyptian-American Lady

Published in March 14, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

  We have not been allowed to repay her for her many good deeds to us; this is why we have decided to write this article about her, despite the fact that we a writer who specializes in writing about negative things.

Firstly: types of human beings between justice and charity & baseness and ingratitude:

1- People comprise different types in terms of giving and receiving. There are those who give and wait for nothing in return, and this is real charity, and there are those who give and wait for a similar return, and this is justice. There are those who receive goodness and never feel thankful and never return goodness, and this is ingratitude, and there are those who receive goodness and betray the one who helped them, and this is sheer baseness and villainy. 

2- During our lifetime, which is about to end, we have met so many ingrates and base villains and also so many helpful and noble persons. We think we have gratefully repaid everyone who acted kindly and charitably toward us, one way or the other, and our conscience is clear in this respect. Yet, there is one woman to whom we feel greatly indebted and she refuses stubbornly to be rewarded and repaid for her many good deeds to us. Indeed, she acts charitably and generously with so many people around her; some of them were grateful to her and acknowledged her deeds for their help, and some were ungrateful and denied her influence on their lives. She is a unique case of charity and generosity in giving and helping everyone within her reach, and we have never seen anyone like her. Since she refuses to be rewarded by us for her many good deeds toward our family, we have decided to write this article about her.

Secondly: Didi and human greatness in its simplicity:

1- After living in Boston for one year where we worked at Harvard University, we have decided to return to Virginia, where we used to live before, and our wife and youngest three sons were with us at the time. We have rented a house and the five of us went down shopping, with our wife, for furniture in a nearby shopping center. Once inside, we saw this lady, who has nearly the same age as we are, approaching us, and her facial features shows her to be Egyptian like us. This lady stopped our wife and both women chatted, as we saw them with the corner of our eyes while we were buying furniture of a bedchamber and a living room. Our wife attempted to stop our buying the furniture because the Egyptian lady she talked to saw that it would be a waste of money to buy new furniture while one can get some second-hand furniture items for free, when thrown by some people, of in return for very little from second-hand shops. We adamantly refused and felt slightly insulted at the suggestion, and we bought the furniture we chose and left the shopping center. This Egyptian lady insisted on inviting us home, and our wife readily agreed as this was her first time in Virginia and he longed to talk to any Egyptian or Arab women, especially after she left dear Lebanese and Moroccan women friends in Boston. We agreed reluctantly to please our wife, and the five of us were driven by her in her car to her house. We were wondering at her behavior that seemed strange to us at the time; how come she would invite complete strangers to her home, where she lived alone?! What if we were evil people intending to harm or rob her?! She treated us as if we were her close friends for so long. Our opinion of her changed once inside her house. Despite her modest appearance, good-naturedness, and her simplicity, she is the descendant of a well-off very well-known Egyptian family; her father used to own a huge farm in Al-Qalioubiyya Governorate, in Egypt, and she got her university degree in Italy. She is a great plastic artist and a musician from the upper class in Egypt, who received the best education and then immigrated to and settled in the USA. This was the first encounter with this lady, Taghreed Hasheesh, nicknamed by her so many friends as Didi.               

2- As far as we know, no friends of Didi's has not been helped by her generosity. We ourselves moved into another house and then another bigger house after our three older sons joined us in the USA, and Didi helped us and dedicated much of her time and effort in doing so. We feel greatly indebted to her.

3- Didi's favors are so many in relation to us and our family and to her friends and also to many others who were needy. She used to guide everyone to the second-hand items locations distributed for free; this entails an explanation for Arab readers: most Americans are shopaholics and influenced by advertisements, and they change their furniture and equipment and other items etc. so frequently and discard the old items in less than one year after buying them, by placing them on the pavement in boxes (in very good condition and sometimes not used at all) for those who may need it. These items include pieces of furniture, electric apparatuses, clothes, accessories, and books. The list is endless and contains all one can imagine. We ourselves used never to look at such items at all, let alone take them! To our surprise, we saw the well-off aristocratic lady named Didi, the Egyptian-American, collects such items herself and gives them as presents to all her friends and all those in need, while laughingly saying in Upper Egyptian rural dialect that such 'presents' are "from our relatives". Indeed, our house that we have settled in until now is filled with her 'presents'. Besides, Didi dedicate much of her time and effort to help her friends at their houses. She had a cleaning company that she sold eventually, but she has retained her experience in cleaning and huge stamina to work so hard more than youths 40 years her senior. Once a friend of hers asks for her help, she volunteers her time and effort to clean, organize, and decorate the house for free. She would do with meticulous precision and focus, with a lot of love, and artistic touch, because she is a plastic artist and a musician and understands everything about décor and furniture and so on. This friend might feel sleepy and would retire to the bed-chamber while leaving Didi working in the house alone all night non-stop. Like most artists, Didi sleeps by day and keeps awake all night. Apart from all of the above, she lets rooms in her house for poor Arab and Egyptian youths coming to the USA for the first time, in return for low rents. Didi serves them and cares for their needs with love and dedication like a fairy Godmother, while bearing patiently with the bad manners of some of them, as they would still carry some negative features and traits of their homelands and cultural backgrounds that never witness those who give so much with human love while waiting for nothing in return.                

4- We still remember with warmth and gratitude all ''presents'' given to us by Didi and how she helped our wife as we moved from one house to anther until we settled in the one we live in now. It is strange how she would insist on refusing our attempt to repay her by any means. Even when our wife would prepare a dinner party on certain occasions and would invite her women friends and our men friends as well as friends of our sons, Didi would politely refuse to attend, while asserting repeatedly that she would appear only in case someone needed her help.   

5- Few months ago, our house needed some renovations before we can held a party to celebrate the birth of the coming of our very first granddaughter, Thouriyya Sherif Mansour, and renovation works took many weeks, and Didi did most of them, along with some women friends of our wife. And then, Didi bought us gifts from an expensive shop, some new abat-jours for our house and bought us as well a very beautiful painting from an art gallery. But she did not attend the party; yet, she was the ever-present person at our house because of her so many gifts and presents and her help to renovate the house.       

Thirdly: Didi and her pets:

1- Despite her generosity and helpfulness, Didi was emotionally harmed by some people whom she helped in her usual manner; when two youths who rented rooms at her house quarreled and she interfered to settle their dispute, one of them harshly told her never to meddle in affairs that are not hers and asked her to get out of the room, and she fell silent and could not respond to such insolence. 

2- Some base ingrates and villains who emotionally hurt her so often led her to adopt pets (a male cat and a female cat), because pets are never treacherous, so loyal to their kind owners, and can sense true feelings of charity and care, unlike many human beings who betrayed her and stabbed her on her back. Didi spends her spare time with her dear pets and spends lots of money to feed and care for them and to have them medically checked and treated by the vet. It is strange that Didi bear patiently with her pains when she is taken ill, while she cannot stand seeing her pets in pain; she spent thousands of $ to have a surgery performed to her old male cat, but it died eventually, and her sorrow knew no bounds and so are the sorrows of the female old cat, which is about to die as well, despite treatment by the vet. Indeed, the vet has advised Didi to resort to euthanasia (i.e., to have the female old cat shot), but she adamantly refused while weeping so hard!

3- Some Arab readers might laugh at the above point, and so did we at one time, but we never laugh at such refined sentiments of Didi now, after we saw her in tears with sincere overwhelming sorrow that made us feel mightily ashamed of ourselves that we laughed at such a situation at first.   

Lastly:

Egypt, the Mother of the world, has brought to the world Didi as well as Al-Sisi! With the likes of Didi in this world, life becomes filled with more joy, whereas with the likes of Al-Sisi, life becomes joyless. 


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