One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ransom Like an Egyptian

We received a lovely Christmas letter from one of our family friends. One of the paragraphs from it was so shocking, that I felt compelled to share it. I have changed the names of those involved. Here it is:

"Our exciting news is we are now GRANDPARENTS! On June 22, Cheryl and Yusuf welcomed Ibrahim into the world, a beautiful, healthy baby boy, weighing 8 pounds. It was quite an experience, as Cheryl delivered in Cairo! At what was supposedly the best hospital in Egypt, Ibrahim was taken to the nursery without Cheryl being able to even see him. She was left stranded in the hallway of the delivery area for 45 minutes, until the head nurse finally informed Yusuf that he needed to pay all of the nurses who attended the delivery(or had been anywhere within a 20 meter radius of Cheryl) baksheesh (tips or bribes, depending on your point of view). Once paid off, Cheryl was magically wheeled up to her room, where she was finally able to meet her son for the first time."

Can you believe that? Can you imagine what it would be like to have your brand-new child and your wife - or yourself - held hostage by hospital nurses? At what is supposed to be one of the most happy events of your life? And this was supposedly one of the best hospitals in Egypt? What happens in the backwood (desert) facilities? Do they just take the mother and child and sell them into slavery? Wow, now that is culture shock.


Alan said... When I realized what was going on I would probably lose it. That is amazing.

Raging Wombat said...

Yes, I don't know what I would do. It was difficult enough for me to watch nurses scrub and flip my babies. If they had then absconded with them - and my wife? Murder.

Ian said...

I searched for that word... baksheesh...this is what I found. For finding this fact for you, it would honor Alah and the prophet if you gave Ian 7 piasters as a show of respect for this favor.

5:18 PM, December 08, 2005

Raging Wombat said...

Thanks for the link, Ian. Now I know more about baksheesh. I would give you seven piastres. But I only have 500. I am hoarding them, and will not part with even one!

Ian said...

Okay, I just asked my Egyption pal Rami about Baksheesh...he says it's exactly the same as tipping. I pointed out the example in the story and how it was different from tipping. He said that was crazy and that it was just the same as tipping. So Im left with "Huh".

Raging Wombat said...

Hopefully, then, the event was a true anamoly, and not a standard practice. Out of curiosity, did you're friend, Rami, demand baksheesh for offering you information about baksheesh?