There is a storm in the city, big chunks of ice and hail are falling everywhere from the white sky.
you could hear the raindrops drilling the car ceiling over you, people running crazy to find shelters from these painfully sky projections.
I call my father “Dad, I can’t go to school today, there is a blast and we can’t see the roads from the fog.” His response astonished me “Keep the driver with you, I’ll take a cab to work” “Dad, you will not find any cabs, its raining heavily,” “then I’ll walk,” he said.
My father is not a talkative person; yet, I enjoy talking to him. I never miss the chance to lie beside him on the wide comfy bed under the warm sheets before he sleeps. I keep talking until I hear his snores and even that doesn’t stop me from going on. One night, I asked him “what do you love in life?” He answered “work,” without even taking a second to think.
It was not easy for my father to become an engineer. He was born in 1959 in a small farmer’s town called “Somokhrat”, one of the many in El-Beheira Governance. Hence, to graduate from the faculty of engineering was not a normal nor a realistic dream for a 16-year old teenager living in a farmer’s town that one can’t even pin on the map.
He had to fight non-stop throughout this journey all by himself. His family members were narrow minded and couldn’t see the importance of their son completing his bachelor degree. They thought it would be better for him to keep wearing the “Jalabiya”, look over the land, and run after the cattle.
The road to success is always long and exhausting; especially, in Egypt’s delta it is muddy. Yet, my father believes that we only need to start and then the rest will be figured out through a way or another, and this exactly what he did. He took the first step.
I memorize by heart a dialogue that me and my father have been through hundreds of times during my school years. “Honey, wake up you are late for school,” Dad says. I answer while I stretch my arms “I am not going to school today dad.” He switches on my room’s light and continue talking “ Can you imagine a school in a small farmers’ town? No one cares whether you attend or not; yet, I have never missed a class.” I say while scrubbing my eyes, “I know Dad, but turn off the lights!” “Oh, come on, the driver is waiting for you, while I had to walk for miles in muddy bumpy roads so I can go to the neighbouring town’s high school!” I finally take off the blanket desperately and say “I will be ready in minutes.”
In the year 1982, he graduated from the faculty of engineering, Alexandria University. As any new graduate, he had a hazy view over his future career for beginnings are always hard, blurry and freighting. He worked in Ismailia for a couple of years then he worked in Saudi Arabia for six years, until he returned to Alexandria, in his late thirties, to start his own company. He is now the Chairman of Intermaint company, an international company for constructions and special equipment maintenance. The company was established in 2003 in Alexandria, Egypt and now it has two international branches one in Saudi Arabia and another in Austria.
Although my dad is obviously a hard worker he knows how to have fun. It was not only school that he didn’t like to miss, but he doesn’t like to miss any event in his life. He is the one who is responsible for planning birthday parties, family events and travels. My dad is the first to show up with a big smile on his face in any event and the last one to leave after hugging everyone there, although he is an early bird and likes to sleep early. If he had nothing to do, you will find him in bed by 9PM.
Travelling, trying new food, and family are things that my dad truly loves. As the dark-skinned boy whose dream was to ride the train to go to Alexandria, managed now to visit more than 30 countries that he only knew existed through his high school geography book.
One other thing that my father loves is photography, he enjoys taking pictures. I know that as my childhood memory is filled with flash scenes of him telling me to smile and running after me with his camera fixed in front of his face. Moreover, he loves comfy clothes, as whenever, he is not at work you will find him wearing a T-shirt, training pants, and these manly sandals that I really hate.
Dad and cars, it is a true love story! Cars are one of the things that my father cherishes in life. I know as a fact that if a mugger once came to my dad and asked him to take me or one of his cars, he will give him the car grudgingly, just to avoid a fight with my mom. However, when I see my father now driving his Mercedes, I think to myself, did the little skinny kid riding on a donkey carriage to go to school would have ever crossed his mind just the thought of driving such a car? I think that this is the power of believing, that my father is always talking about.