Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Well, This has been the absolute strangest couple of days in my entire life. If I tried to explain it all, it would be the length of a novel. Joanna is really ABSOLUTELY crazy. Yesterday in class she was a bit strange and slow but she seemed fairly normal.Then we went to Carrefour, a big western style shopping mall downtown Alex. When ever we went out, she covered her head and pretty much hid her face. She didn't seem to want to actually walk with any of us, and seemed a little paranoid. At the mall, half of the group went to the grocery store with Hussein, our wonderful driver (he loves us all... except for Joanna). Bryn, Ian, Joanna and I wanted to wander around and window shop. Joanna really wanted to buy some clothing because of the situation of having to flee Dubai without her luggage(as she claimed). She wouldn't walk with us there, either. She walked a few feet behind us, keeping her head covered. When we went to look at anything, she stayed well away and when we were finished, she would go take a look. She does everything so slowly, including walking and eating. We were hungry so we went for a quick snack, a cinnamon bun. She ordered a chicken crepe dinner. She moved like a snail while she ate because she was too busy watching everyone that came near or walked by or even moved in the distance. Eventually, after eating, Ian and I got separated from Bryn and Joanna. We went into the grocery store (it had everything from food to clothes to cds. We each bought a notebook. When we all found each other again and were ready to leave, Joanna had bought a new outfit. Actually, Bryn had paid for it because Joanna had forgotten to bring cash and didnt' want to use her credit card because it could be traced. After we got back, she came to our room to join us while we were doing our homework. She said she wanted to show us something and broke out into a very long story. To make a long story short, she claims that she unknowingly helped Saddam Hussein in New Zealand a couple of years ago, and so became sort-of part of his group. She worked with and taught Iraqi refugees. While whe was there, she had a few problems (was attacked by a mother of a 16 year old drugged up girl that she had helped) and the only ones that would help her were a group of Iraqi refugees, of which one was Saddam Hussein, using the name Hassam. She spent time with all of the refugees there. She claims that since then, every where that she goes, she sees people from his group and communicate with them using hand and body signals. Apparently, she saw people from the group at Carrefour (4 of them, to be exact), and they communicated to her that they wanted her to talk to Saddam about the situation with the refugees. She says that she is wanted because of her associations and is worried that the Egyptian gov't will come and take her away because of it. She went into a big long speech about how the Arab troops were mobilizing in Dubai and in Cairo and that they were going to make their big move after the Rammadan, a month long religious period starting next month(?). She wouldn't leave our room until very late and after every one else had gone to bed, she told Megan and I that she was going to flee the country. She walked into Megans bedroom and was standing at her window for about 15 minutes or so and when Megan tried to talk to her, she said to be quiet. When she finally came out, she asked if the guys downstairs would be asleep, because the coast was clear outside. She then hugged each of us and tried to give me her cds and watch. She wanted to trade bags with us but we suggested that if she wanted to do something like that, she should use shopping bags. In the morning, she was gone, her key was on the table and the clothes that she had been wearing were left with her bag and some other things in her room. She left the door open. We had a big discussion when we got to the school. Then she phoned the school to say that she was having family problems and would miss the day but would be back tomorrow. She phoned the school again, a little later, to say that she would be there in the afternoon. The made her go to the apartment to pick up her things and then she did show up. She is now staying in a hotel a short walk from the school. Everyone is a bit freaked out by her. She is very creepy. We are hoping that she will stop coming, as it makes us all uncomfortable. We have to actually work with her, as we do partnered work in the class. It is hard to explain because she did say a LOT more than that. She is obviously delusional but there has to be some sort of truth behind her behavior. Maybe something happened to her and she has become paranoid. Who knows. We do have a lot of people looking after us, though. Egyptians are very protective. We love all of the Egyptians that we have met. They are such great people.Anyway, I should go now. This is getting a little long. Tomorrow night we are all going out. And then it is our weekend (Friday and Saturday). Yay. We might to go the beach and a museum or two.Love you all. Keep in touch.

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