WINNIPEG, Man. – Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is monitoring the situation in Egypt following the resignation of the Egyptian president. MCC will move international workers back into the country when it is safe to do so and MCC’s work there can continue.
Thirteen international staff, including two children, were temporarily relocated to MCC’s West Europe office in Strasbourg, France, in early February. Another MCCer working in Africa was vacationing and visiting family in Cairo when the unrest began. She is now back in Africa.
MCC also has three national staff in Egypt, all of whom are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, said Tom Snowdon, MCC Egypt co-representative with his spouse, Judith Snowdon. The Snowdons are from Saint-Joseph-De-Kent, N.B.
“They are safe in their homes and hoping and praying for an end to the uncertainties,” he said in a recent email. MCC workers continue to be in touch with partners and friends in Egypt.
MCC relocated its international workers because there were concerns for the safety of workers and MCC work in Egypt was at a standstill. MCC also wanted to save its partner organizations in Egypt from worrying about how to care for the workers.
“We didn’t want our Egyptians friends and partners to spend too much time and energy caring for us when they should be thinking about and doing other things,” said Snowdon.
At one point a church organization MCC partners with supplied stranded MCC workers with money to help with their attempts at leaving. Another time a priest called and offered to send a van to collect MCC workers in Cairo and take them to a church house outside the city.
Trying to leave was an ordeal, he said. “Limited phone service, no internet and extremely difficult transportation due to the curfew and congestion all made it very difficult to do anything. The Cairo airport was in chaos and the crush of people got scary at times.”
MCC workers want to go back as soon as possible, said Snowdon. “But it is true that the future there is uncertain and we don't want to sound heroic and to minimize that reality.”
MCC’s work in Egypt focuses on education and peacebuilding.