I find myself surrounded by some amazing women these days. Tracy, the blonde trying out donkey equitation in the photo, will be arriving this afternoon from Crete, where she has been spending a month working out plans for a new project. She will be joining Merri, a photographer who came to stay with me when I first moved to Abu Sir a year ago. Merri had been trekking through Greece and Turkey when an invitation to do some riding in Egypt sort of sidetracked her. Originally, she was going to be here for 10 days and return to Turkey, but the call of the saddle was too strong so she's staying on to mid-April.
Susan and Mona, the other two women in the photo, wander by with or without their sons as do quite a few other women. Most of us are single, whether through divorce or widowhood, and most of us have children at various stages of development. I provide a petting zoo, horseback riding lessons and the odd babysitting stint for the others, while they come to me with love and comforts that may be intangible or sometimes edible like chocolate.
Last year my Norwegian neighbour Pal named my house the Haramlik, "the women's house" in Turkish. It's well-named. It isn't exactly serene when the dogs get up to mischief, but it is a nurturing place. Hortense came over yesterday to feed my parrots and dogs, since I had to leave my car at the mechanic for the evening for minor repairs. When Merri and I got home she was still here, so we all sat down with a welcome cup of tea and some fresh peaches. Janie came with her books on herbal, nutritional, and other alternative health cares when I was knocked out by the e coli infection that had me feeling so exhausted. Kati and her daughter replenished me with apples and laughter on the weekends while Patricia is learning to ride with the patient Bunduq.
There is something very special about a gathering of women. We all have that nurturing aspect and when it comes together with a group of friends, the healing of all of us begins. We listen to each other's worries, suggest solutions, offer that underrated comfort hugs. There are simply things that we can share with each other that need little or no explanation with other women.
I do love my male friends, but I don't know if I'd survive without the women.