One of the pillars of Islam is to fast from sun up to sun down during the lunar month of Ramadan.  Last time I was in Egypt I was here for the last half of Ramadan.  I tried to make the point of fasting with my family.  It was a great experience, but it wasn’t exactly difficult.  We gorged ourselves at Iftar (breaking of the fast... or breakfast) and continued eating all night until Sahoor were we made sure to eat enough to last the day.  After that, we slept until maybe three in the afternoon, waited for and hour or two until Iftar and started again.  This time around things are different.  I have no family to feed me every night, and I have classes starting at 9 am.  Fasting is always difficult from a self-control perspective, but living without a family makes fasting hard logistical perspective since restaurants close at odd times and you don’t have the support network to help prepare food or get you up for Sahoor.  It’s just really impractical.  My new policy is “public fasting.”  Whenever I am out I try to abstain from water or food.  I am drinking extra before I leave the house, and making sure I have a hardy breakfast, but then as soon as I am in the sight of Egyptians that’s that.  I think it encourages good will from Egyptians, and at very least, I am not aggravating anyone by being THAT foreigner drinking in front of them on the street.  In this heat that is what really gets you: not the hunger, but the thirst.  These people are amazing for living their lives and going to work while fasting in this kind of weather.

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