After days of wondering and waiting to hear from The Catholic Spirit’s production manager, John Wolszon, who is in Egypt, the Internet was restored and he sent the following message (Wed, 2 Feb 2011 06:52:42) directly to family members and The Catholic Spirit’s Jim Graham, who is leading production in John’s absence, with help from Caron Olhoft, also part of the production department.
Finally at noon today we got the Internet back. If you don’t think you’re addicted to the net try going five days without it.
All is well here. The city were in, El Rehab, is 20 miles or so north of Cairo. It is a gated city with it’s own security force. Last Friday the city called on it’s residents for help in protecting it. They had heard looters were heading this way. The turnout was amazing. People patrolling on foot, setting up checkpoints into neighborhoods and helping at the entrances. The army showed up and stationed a tank with three soldiers at each entrance. A personnel carrier with 20 or so soldiers was parked in the mall/food court area. No one got in. We feel very safe here.
The weather here has been great. 70 to 80 every day. Lots of sun, no snow or rain.
Most, if not all of our plans have changed or been discarded. All tourist sites have been closed. We’ve seen nothing but the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. Probably won’t get to Luxor unless they lift the restrictions and start the trains in the next couple of days. Still hoping to see the Pyramids, the museum (not likely because of break-in), and Alexandria. All depends on the protesters. Not looking good. If it wasn’t for family this trip has been disappointing.
All banks and most stores have been closed for close to a week. The reports you may have heard about food and gas shortages are mostly for Cairo in the demonstration areas. The stores here in El Rehab are fully stocked. The army has asked that grocery stores and bakeries stay open. The army will get them what they need if necessary.
Protesters trying to plan another demonstration on Friday. They want to do it at the presidential palace. Army has asked for demonstrations to stop so country can get back to normal. People seem to respect army more than government.
Only concern now is getting home. Were hoping Delta resumes flights before we leave. Otherwise we’ll probably have to make new arrangements. We’ll let you know when we find out.
Things seem to be returning to normal here. People out and about, kids playing, traffic increasing. Hope it continues.
Pro- and anti-government demonstrators are clashing in Cairo (2:30 p.m.) now. Nothing major and Army is breaking it up.
We’ve seen the Spirit article and TV report. Wow.
That’s it for now. We feel safe and plan to stay (for now). Wish us luck. We hope to see something before we leave.
Sorry we didn’t get in touch sooner. None of us thought to call on the cell phone. As long as the net stays up I’ll send updates.
Another staffer, Marilyn Rivera, retrieved this post on Facebook by John and Mary Jo Wolszon’s daughter, Angela Wolszon Hussein:
Thank you everyone for all of your concern! We are all doing just fine. Please do not worry about us, we are safe. Things are obviously crazy over here, but we have not felt unsafe for a moment. We have plenty of food and supplies, and stores here in Rehab are stocked. For the most part, we are bored, lol!! Everyone pray that this ends soon, I don’t know what else the protesters expect Mubarak to do.