Barbara and Tom Thomason, grandparents of Collegiate student Brandon Thomason, spoke to 5th Graders about the more than two decades they lived in Egypt from 1994 until recently.
The opportunity for Mr. Thomason to oversee the Middle Eastern presence of Bechtel, an engineering, construction and project management company, originally took the Thomasons to Maadi and then Cairo where their two children attended high school and graduated from Cairo American College before leaving for university in the United States.
The Thomasons shared their experiences, photography and model ships touching on Egyptian geography, economics, culture and religion, history and government, science, technology and the arts, as well as the people.
The Thomasons recounted that Egypt is considered a developing country with a small percentage of university-educated, wealthy citizens, a small middle class and a large socio-economic lower class with limited access to education living at the poverty level. In their new community, a large majority of the country's population was Sunni Muslim with Coptic Christians and other Christian minorities representing 15% of the population. They said they found the city of Cairo, densely populated with 20 million people, to be polluted, noisy, crowded and full of chaotic traffic at all hours of the day and night – while simultaneously inviting, full of possibility and invigorating.
The Thomasons left Egypt with a bevy of dear friends still living in the country. They look forward to taking Brandon, his sister Sarah and cousin Zachary to visit and show them the amazing sights of ancient and modern Egypt.