One of the beautiful artistries in having lived in a far away city for a long time, is being able to observe the its natural element. Not simply coming as a tourist, but having immersed in it for so long that one is in tuned with it’s rhythms, aura, and sensory. Therefore, when family and friends venture over to where you are, you are able to put your hostess skills to work. Providing them with a lens of your world into the city, and how you have navigated its domains.

Having a musical and college brother come travel to Cairo, Egypt was more than a union. It was an experience of Universal balance. A guidance into the cohesion of the feminine and masculine principles between our alma maters. What we represented in the foundations of two prominent US institutions, and specifically, HBCUs. Our culture as Black American people, while bringing the energy of our foremothers and forefathers to a land of familiarity.

In many regards a host and hostess are travel experts and therapists. She, he, or they make the journey that more refreshing and secure; while keeping the excitement of the foreign, amplified. Adventure is part of the artistry in delving into a spiritual awakening in coming to a place, such as Cairo, Egypt. In addition to the cultural experience, it is the job of the host or hostess to ensure that travels gain a euphoric experience. In addition to enjoyment, travel is healing. Its a spiritually, emotionally, and mentally cleansing experience. Especially, when it comes to the intensity and stress of many fast-paced, and urban cities of the Western worlds, there is this overwhelming energy of stress. It is intense and even stifles the existence of one’s humanity. You begin to question and doubt the reason for your very existence. That’s why movement is very important. Venturing to another space on Earth’s plane is something, which allows for travelers to release any energies, no longer serving them or their purpose for the next journey.

(Photograph By Menna House Restaurant Staff; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)

When a maiden from a particular community has explored, and immersed herself, within a particular spacing, for a given period of time, it is suitable to state that she must share those experiences with members of her culture. So, when members of her culture come visiting to this space, where she has been inhabiting for so long, there is a kind of Universal celebration. A communal celebration of restoration and healing. A healing for those trials and tribulations, endured. For her/history’s pains in the context of US soiling. Feeling the euphoria of gaining certain balance and re-centering, when coming to this particular spacing.

My musical and college brother’s coming to Cairo was inciting. There were others of our culture and community, who had come to this land. Visiting the pyramids. Seeing the Sphinx. Venturing to particular market places and spaces. Anything else having to do with traditional toursing and travel in Egypt. Coming as a solo, feature performer with the Cairo Chorale Society (under the direction of Dr. John Baboukis), it was music, which had brought him, through. In our culture, of Black America, music is our her/history book. It was music, which had brought him to Cairo, and so it would be music that would return him back home, for the next journey of his life. It was a solo journey, a solo cleansing. Conquering fears and dismantling barriers. Returning home a stronger and more empowered husband, father, son, grandson, brother, and man.

(Photograph and Edits By Lauren K. Clark)
(Photograph By Mena House Restaurant Staff; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)

Seeing my brother was intriguing. Others of our educational homecomings had come before. Reminders that home is always, there! What was going on in Atlanta? What had been going on since I had been away? Outside of getting together with family and friends, were there other things I had been missing out on? Like others I had hosted when coming to Egypt, their presence was always a reminder of where I had come from? My educational journey in undergrad. How that journey, in all its coloring, had prepared me for this current journey. Having groomed me for my chapter in Egypt. This journey of every coloration, you could think of. Of designs, patterns, shapes, and others, which have yet to be fully comprehended by the human mind.

I feel honored to show brothers and sisters of my community and cultural background around, when they visit Egypt. Knowing that there is a familiar presence. A feminine presence from one’s cultural and educational domain. Being nourished and giving nutrition in Egypt’s land. Sharing the lessons and teachings of wellness and well-being to college Sisters and brothers, had been a euphoric experience.

Being in contact with Mrs. Alicia Johnson, the powerhouse behind Dr. Kevin Johnson, was one of pleasantries and love. Hoping that she could have joined the trip. And, yet, still hoping, that she will still be coming for future visits. A silent gentility, inner strength, and wisdom, which has guided me during certain segments of life’s complications, when I didn’t know where to turn to. Nevertheless, my pen and camera will be ready to capture that moment when Mrs. Johnson graces her presence in the land of the pyramids. Desiring to see her own photographic eye, at work!

Going through the pyramids, Mena House restaurant area for Turkish coffee, and then intrinsic Abou El Sid restaurant in Zamalek of Cairo, were one of those beautiful adventures, where life’s lessons (and the meaning of life’s treasures) were meant to be learned. Divine and fascinating, it was one of those understandings of what takes place when being in night’s protection. Eating at a restaurant that I have come to on more than one occasion, was another trip down memory lane. A space where culinary accompanied artistry for those weary souls. Moments of teachings had taken place, here. Moments of a couple’s kindling of love’s Spirit. Spending love’s delight and nightly mystique, with my Angel. Memories of talk to the distant past with my musical Brother. For that night, it was the three of us. Wine had channeled our Spirits of relaxation and calm. It was nourishing. It was Divine! Egyptian wines had flowed waves of peace and tranquility, in our spacing. Decorating the night and its abundance, forevermore!

(Photograph By Abou El Sid Restaurant Staff; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)

The day had started from one source of knowledge. It originated in being able to venture to that particular spacing. A space of cleansing nourishment. Entering into the pyramids. Hiking upward into its very existence was a journey in, itself. It required certain attributes of being able to release tension. Letting go of any fears. Restrictions and tight spacing within the pyramid of entry, was part of the artistry of being able to grow and heal. Each step was a release of pain. Each hike was a repelling of toxicity in our spiritual and emotional aura. Having done this on more than one occasion, I had taken on similar experiences, prior to. Whatever fears he was dealing with. Whatever tensions he had experienced in the States, or coming to Egypt, would be laid to rest in this spacing. Laid and never to be returned to his own family, loved ones, friends, or work colleagues. Perhaps, that is one of the rewards of a solo journey. Gaining clarity of self, in order to be better for others!

Navigating through the pyramids-whether by foot, camel, or horse and carriage-was further extension to that learning process. A healing mystique, where the sensory of sight and smell come to navigate a re-discovery of our inner core. Seeing the possibilities of human wonder and civilization. The capacity and expansion of the human spirit shakes us from any limitations. Whether they are projected upon us, or mirrors of our own thinking. After observing greatness, you can no longer settle for the mediocre.

(Photograph and Edits By Lauren K. Clark)

Leading up to the farewell dinner were different moments of reflection from the adventure and tedious work of the day’s journey. The Morehouse College and Spelman College connection-a signature balance in Black America’s feminine and masculine energies had been signified. Clearly, healing was taking place in our communities. A restoration between our respective, educational, cultural, and garden institutions, was happening. That representation, intertwining, interconnection, and connection, had been solidified, through imagery. As it is written, so shall it be!

The final dinner showcased the completion of a mission. Singing and performing one’s vocal artistry into Universal decor was the project. It was completed successful. And, not simply in coming for sheer entertainment of visitors. On the contrary, it was to give healing, while receiving it back. Taking that same musical energy, embracing its return, and storing it in order to share it with family, loved ones, and friends.

I must say this is one of my most memorable hosting ventures in Cairo, Egypt. Not only was it therapeutic for Dr. Kevin Johnson, spiritually and emotionally beneficial for Alicia Johnson and family, but it also gave me the opportunity to re-center. Re-healing and stopping to enjoy a land, which gave me the opportunity to re-discover and re-explore my entire existence. Coming into terms with my decision to come to Egypt, and the mental, emotional, and physical stability, which had been strengthened, here. Forever grateful in my own, personal healing journey, here. Every component of its existence, while sharing it with others. Furthermore, hoping that others will also follow through in this escapade, for travel healing.

(Photograph By Abou El Sid Restaurant Staff; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)
(Photograph and Edits By Pyramid Visitor; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)


  • Lauren K. Clark

    Lauren K. Clark hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Currently based in Cairo, Egypt, she is a lover of travel, studying different languages, the arts, and more!

    Coming from Atlanta, Georgia, Lauren K. Clark came to Cairo, Egypt for her graduate studies in Gender & Women's Studies/Migration and Refugee Studies. A writer, published in 6 countries, project coordinator, working with refugee/migrant children, and just enjoying the magic and power of life. The world of theater is her therapy, and the performing arts lavishes her world! Enthralled with the mysteries of the Universe, and all the beauties, Creation has to offer.