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A New Wife

Some of you who have been following our blog may remember some of the stories we’ve told about our doorman and his family.  When we moved into our first apartment in Maadi, our doorman’s wife was just recovering from having a brain tumor removed.  That didn’t stop her from inviting us to dinner! (click here)  Unfortunately, we didn’t have much opportunity to get to know her, as a couple months later, the brain tumor returned and eventually took her life.  That was a very sad day when her daughter told me the news, made even more poignant since I didn’t understand what she said the first two times in Arabic (click here).  I attended the “funeral” of sorts, or rather, visitation of the family and was hurting for the two older girls especially as they lost their best friend and didn’t seem allowed to grieve about it.  Shortly after their mother’s death, I talked with different people in the building, and even the two girls about their father remarrying.  It was almost assumed by the Egyptians I spoke with, that he would remarry fairly quickly as he still had kids to raise.  In talking briefly with the doorman himself, he seemed resistant to the idea.  After all, he just lost his wife and it seemed the two had a good, loving relationship.  No one wants to replace their lost love.  Also, he didn’t want another woman coming into his house and making his daughters do all the hard work.  As it was, though, without a mom in the house, the two oldest girls had a lot of responsibility, including cooking, cleaning and helping to care for the two younger kids.  They certainly didn’t want a new mom, but it seemed they wanted a new wife for their father’s sake.

Now that we don’t live in the same apartment building, we don’t naturally see this family and hear their news.  But a few weeks ago, after returning from some time in the states, we visited them to catch up and pass on a few gifts.  I noticed that they had some of the furniture from our old apartment in their house, and I asked about it.  I’m not quite sure what the answer was, but I did understand that they passed on the news of their father’s upcoming marriage next month.  The girls seemed excited as it is a woman they know and knows them.  She is actually the niece of their mom.  She is a bit younger than the doorman, but not unreasonably so.  The girls were happy with the choice, and when I congratulated their dad later, (he was outside with Jayson as I visited the girls inside), he said that he wasn’t marrying for himself, but for the children.  So it kind of seems all of them are being unselfish in this endeavor!

Jayson found out some information about the new wife-to-be.  She had been married before, but it seems she unknowingly became the fourth wife of a man.  Once she found out he had three other wives, she quickly divorced him and returned to her village.  From what the doorman and his daughters say, she’s a good woman.

And so, next month, their Dad will travel to a village outside of Cairo for a small legal ceremony without any pomp and circumstance.  He will marry a new wife and bring her back to Cairo to live in the house next to the apartment building.  In the meantime, he is preparing by buying new bedroom furniture for him and his wife, and probably cleaning and reorganizing the house.  When I asked the girls if they will go with their dad, it seemed they said the younger kids would go, but they would stay.  It sounded like they didn’t really want to go, but I doubt he would leave them at home on their own.  I look forward to meeting this woman and I pray that she fits right into this household and brings some joy to this house once again.

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