Becoming Part of Marie’s Community of Love

By Magda Iskander

When I met Marie, she told me she will jinx me, and that I will return to Egypt and work with social development.  I laughed and told her if this ever happens she will have to be my mentor. And when I came back to Egypt to volunteer for a year I bumped into her; and she exclaimed: “you came back,” and I responded: “and you promised you will be my mentor.” So she invited me to her home, and we sat talking for hours. That was the beginning of a strong friendship that lasted until the day she left this Earth.

When I started the program for home health care that is known as Care with Love (CWL), she became our first client before we even started. Her sister needed care, and she asked her daughter in law to call me telling me that Marie is coming back to Egypt with her sister who needs health care, and that I am to provide the care. I protested that we were barely graduating the first class, but she did not take no for an answer; and I had to provide the care and develop the system on the job. But the feedback from that experience and her mentoring over the years had a crucial effect on how solid CWL is to this day.

No problem was big enough to phase her, and all discussions happened around a cup of coffee and a bar of chocolate. Marie was a woman of faith, had a great sense of humor, and we enjoyed simple things in life: traveling with friends, watching sunsets while singing old YWCA camp songs, eating traditional Egyptian “Molokhyia”, and weaving palm leaves for Palm Sunday. I became a member of her community of love. The only thing that she bugged me about was what she called my Protestant Ethics that complicated my life.

She was also a great communicator, and the revolving door of her home introduced me to many wonderful people, and new friendships.

Marie will always be in my heart, and I hope to continue being a faithful disciple of her community of love.