An addendum

An addendum to the post about my (Monica) grandfather, from my Aunt Amani:

I think this [photo was taken in the] early seventies, and Dad did even more. He became the head manager of the biggest state mental hospital in Egypt (El Khankka).  He believed in the human rights of the patients and believed that given their rights they would be more able to realize their potential recovery. He fought hard with the government to change the rules by which these mental institutions were run.

Knowing him, its no surprise he did much of this in spite of the refusal of the authorities, which put him in danger of losing his job. Still, he did it. Weekly cinema visits and workshops for different talents like working with wood and leather. Some of the paintings hanging at home are from there, some of the furniture too. They had a music band, a theatre group and a poetry group. This picture was taken on a retreat to the beach (Gamasa) that lasted for one week. My dad insisted that Mum and I go with him (Magdi was studying for his medical exams) to communicate to the patients that no one is afraid of them. In reality, Mum and I were really afraid and at first refusing to go, these were seriously mentally ill people. But he insisted, so we went. And we both had a great time. It was a great experience that we’ll never forget.

He also insisted on hanging a big banner there that said, THE RETREAT FOR KHANKKA HOSPITAL, which made all the neighbors afraid and distant at first. But then, during the week, the patients held a big fun day with music, theatre, and a comedy show and invited everybody from the community. They came and no one could believe they were patients from the hospital. Everybody loved the day.

Comments powered by Disqus
  1. abravelove posted this