For many people, visiting the Egyptian city of Aswan is a dream. This charming place in southern Egypt conjures up images of the sandy riverbank, flowing waters of the Nile and hanging palm trees.
For me, Aswan is my home, and my dream is to share it and other places with travellers so that you too can get to know the city and country that I love.
I was born in Aswan and spent the first few years of my life playing on the banks of the Nile. My friends and I had a small boat – although it leaked and we needed to bail it out with buckets, we loved it and would play for hours in our colourful boat.
Sometimes, as we played, we would catch a glance of tourists sailing down in their Felucca boats or cruise ships.
Curiously, I would approach the boat, sometimes singing for the tourists or just sharing a warm smile. I couldn’t help but notice that the guides were not Nubian; the people, like me, who have hailed from Aswan for thousands of years.
I couldn’t help but wonder what these guides were sharing about my beloved Aswan. I hoped that they were telling visitors about our history, our culture, and our traditions. Even from this young age, I had a desire to share the real Aswan with visitors to our shores, with the warmth and kindness my people are renowned for.
I would daydream of becoming a guide myself – thinking about what I’d tell visitors and how I’d share my stories. While around me many of my family and friends were doormen and cooks in the wealthy people’s homes (like many Nubians), I idolised the tour guides I saw floating down the river.
While I was very happy in Aswan as a child, when I was 11 years old my father moved us to the capital, Cairo, in search of better opportunities for work and education for us. My father worked hard and was well-respected – he showed the Nubian way of being calm, polite and hospitable.
I think hospitality and service is simply in the soul of most Nubian people.
Once I completed school, I went on to study the Japanese language which opened up the opportunity to work with Japanese people. Not only did this allow me to share my culture, but also to learn more about the Japanese culture and ‘Omotenashi’, their unique and selfless approach to customer service. I immediately identified with this approach, which ensures every customer feels valued and respected.
With all of these experiences, I came to believe that I could offer something unique to the tourism and service industry. I wished to begin a venture that would combine the Japanese commitment to service with the cheerful smile and warmth of my Nubian culture.
It was with this idea that I decided to launch a company that was truly service-orientated. That is, a company that will always put the customer first – not profit or itself. Service that harkens back to what I know, and what I have seen, from Aswan to Tokyo.
That’s why I am so proud to offer ‘Old Fashioned Service’ with T2E. At its heart, our philosophy is simple – we treat people how we would like to be treated, putting humans ahead of profit, always. We have integrity, and do the right thing, even when no-one is looking. We are true to our word, and genuinely love to share our home, customs, culture and history with those who visit us.
We want to bring happiness to all people, so up to 5% of profits go directly to the Nubian community to help with education and other projects.
I am grateful for all the experiences, places and people in my life that have helped shape the philosophy that underpins T2E. I still have the same excitement every time I meet a new visitor, just the same as I did when I was a small child in that boat.
I have realised my dream with T2E, and now I hope I can help you realise yours during your visit to Aswan and Egypt.