We arrived in Egypt last Thursday and discovered that the next two days were the Egyptian weekend. So we spent time getting orientated on Thursday, took a taxi and walked around Islamic Cairo on Friday and visited the Pyramids on Saturday.
On Sunday morning we went to the Sekem complex on the edge of Cairo. They are developing a University on this site. Here I met with Dr Zakaria El-Haddad, Professor of Agricultural Engineering and Executive Manager of the Egyptian Bio Dynamic Association. This was a very good meeting, with Dr El- Haddad recommending that I go (in fact compelling me) to the Western Desert to meet some people there. He talked about the clarity of thinking of people in the desert.
On Monday and Tuesday we went out to the Sekem farm. We arrived at 10.00am and went straight to a group of senior students and staff from the Sekem school. I gave a presentation on climate change and adaptation, including sharing some of the stories and lessons from our journey so far. Later in the day Angela Hofmann, who established the dairy herd at Sekem, suggested that we be at the main entrance to Sekem just before 5pm. She told us to imagine this place as desert, which it was 30 years ago and to reflect on the transformation. What was 70ha of desert has been transformed to an environment with trees, fields, a school, and several Sekem factories. In all there are about 1600 people who pass through the Sekem gates each day, students, teaching staff, Sekem factory workers. It is a remarkable transformation and clear proof of what human beings are capable of with clear vision and a strong will to turn the vision into reality.
Here at Sekem I was talking to people who are already thinking and acting with a long-term future in mind. On Tuesday we filmed interviews with Angela and Gamal, both of whom have been at Sekem for about 20 years. These were both very good interviews that in many ways drew together different threads from the last 12 weeks. The clear lesson from Sekem is that we don’t need crisis to change. Human beings have abundant capacity to develop positive, strong relationships with the natural environment. The choice is ours.