I hope the end of the year is going well for you. The temperature is dropping here considerably and today I even had to go to an outdoor clothing market underneath a bridge to buy a jacket so I can stay warm.
A while ago you put together questions you had for 6th graders in Cairo. Thank you very much fo the questions, they are great. I would have liked to ask them all, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough time in the interview. After school on Thursday I took the bus out to Haram, the neighborhood by the pyramids where I used to live. There I met my former landlord, Ahmed (or ‘Thomas’, his nickname), and he took me to the apartment of his cousin where I met Nasr Sherif. Nasr is a 12 year old who goes to a public school in Giza. I’ll let him do the rest of the talking, and don’t miss his message to the class at the end of the video!
Click through for the transcript of the full interview!
Transcript of Interview with Nasr Sherif
Seth: Talk a little bit about your school
Nasr: I go to school on Haram Street [Pyramid Street in Haram, Giza] and I am in the 6th grade.
Seth: In the morning how do you get to school?
Nasr: Usually I walk, it is close.
Seth: What time?
Nasr: 6 a.m.
Seth: Really? In America, in Portland, it’s possible students go at 9 a.m.
Seth: In the school, how many classes do you take?
Nasr: 8 classes a day and he is studying 7 subjects [might be a translation issue]
Seth: The teachers are good? Nice?
Nasr: I mean, sometimes. I’m lucky to have nice teachers but sometimes they are lousy. I remember in 4th grade the Social Studies teacher often didn’t show up the whole year.
Seth: Do you have a lunch break?
Nasr: We have a 15 or 20 minute break in the middle of the 8 classes.
Seth: What is your favorite class?
Seth: Really? Not me. After school, what do you do?
Nasr: I go home, change, do my homework and go to bed.
Seth: When do you go to bed?
Nasr: At 8 p.m.
Seth: Which sports do you play?
Nasr: I play soccer.
Seth: At school?
Nasr: No, in a club and in the street. Sometimes in the summer I do swimming.
Seth: When there is no school what do you do?
Nasr: I meet friends in the street and I go to the club to play soccer and swim.
Seth: Can you chew gum at school?
Nasr: No, that’s not allowed. Is it allowed in America?
Seth: No, not in school but in university it might be possible. Under the tables, though, there is a lot of gum.
Nasr: Under the table? Tisk tisk.
Seth: How much homework do you have?
Nasr: Lots. Some classes are more. In Arabic we get three pages in a book and in English we get one page and practice writing and meanings of words.
Seth: So you speak a little English?
Nasr: I mean…
Seth: Is it possible to say something in English?
Nasr: “What is your name?”
Ahmed: Anything else?
Nasr: “Shut up!”
Seth: They teach you that in class or is that from television?
Nasr: From the television.
Seth: What do you know about America?
Nasr: I don’t know.
Seth: I mean, do you know Barack Obama or Michael Jackson?
Nasr: Yeah, I know.
Seth: Do you like American films or music?
Nasr: Yeah, there are films. The action films are good.
Seth: What is your favorite film?
Nasr: Michael Jackson
Ahmed: Michael Jackson isn’t in films. What is your favorite film?
Nasr: Oh, I like the action films. I don’t know the name. Oh, “Congo”!
Seth: “Congo”? I don’t know that film.
Ahmed: You know Cartoon Network?
Ahmed: “Tom and Jerry”, “Mickey Mouse”, they are all American.
Seth: Last week on Tuesday, was school closed?
Nasr: No, it was open. I went, there wasn’t a problem.
Seth: Do you have many friends on the street?
Nasr: Everyone in the neighborhood.
Seth: In America, the most famous things from Egypt are the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. How often do you see them?
Nasr: Whenever I pass by, I don’t really notice. I don’t remember the last time I visited them.
Seth: Do you want to study in a university?
Nasr: I want to go to the Police Academy?
Seth: Oh really? If you are in the Police Academy do you do military service?
Seth: Do you have questions for the school in America?
Nasr: I don’t know… I want to know about the girls.
Seth: In your school are there girls and boys?
Seth: In the same class?
Seth: How many students are in your class?
Seth: In the same classroom?
Ahmed: Yes, it’s a public school.
Seth: How many grades are there?
Ahmed: There are 6 grades in elementary school, then three in middle school, and then three in high school. 12 grades.
Seth: I think that’s it. Thank you very much. Would you like to say anything to the students in America?
Nasr: Hopefully you will visit me in Egypt and if you do I will take you to the Pyramids.