Accompanying people far from home in Cairo

by Sr Victoria Nabil

I have always been interested in psychology and liked caring for people in need – the sick, the elderly – but I feel a little uneasy at the sight of blood!

And so I have found ways to serve in nursing and counselling.

I love the work with teenagers

First, I am involved in a kind of parish group for university students who have come to Cairo from other cities and countries. We have Mass, do Scripture studies, discuss spiritual topics; we talk and reflect so they can go deeper into their relationship with God, and learn how to listen and to act on the Word.

We try to help them feel integrated

Since the students are far from home, we try to help them feel integrated, with social activities like outings, music, or simple games. We give language lessons – Arabic, French and English – so that it will be easier for them to find work. We look at themes relevant to their lives, like how to use social media the right way. We reflect on their future and how to deal with their problems. And we talk about organising our day and filling it with God, supportive people, food, rest and learning different skills.

My second ministry is as a nurse and counsellor with Sudanese refugee children and teenagers. These young people live in complicated circumstances. Sometimes they come to me for first aid for a cut or a bruise, sometimes they just want to talk, sometimes they have more serious physical and mental issues. The latter I refer to a specialist for follow-up.

Open not only with those I know or choose to know, but with everyone

I love the work with teenagers, even though it can be especially challenging because of the delicate stage of growing up they are going through, with a will for independence but also a need for answers to so many questions.

Through Sion’s way of loving and welcoming, Bible study and relationship with God and people, I have learnt to be open not only with those I know or choose to know, but with everyone. With these insights, it’s my joy to be a nurse and a counsellor.