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February 9, 2011
Men guard the remains of a police station in Luxor, Egypt on January 29 after riots broke out. Photos by Shirlianne and Harold Neufeld.
Exhausted Couple ‘Feared for Safety’ Getting Out of Egypt
• Airport Staff Demanded Bribe
A woman who works in Provost and her husband who farms near Evesham are happy to get out of Egypt as unrest and anti-government demonstrations broke out recently in that African country.

“We truly feared for our safety” says Shirlianne Neufeld, a public health nurse at the Provincial Building in town and who also grew up in Provost.

Although their vacation was winding down in Egypt they became aware of the deteriorating situation and were told when in Luxor that they may not be flown to Cairo where their flight out of the country was.

They did get flown the 45 minutes to Cairo (approximately three hours by car) but had to spend 24 hours at the airport before they were able to leave. Part of the couple’s time spent in the Cairo terminal was during a curfew so it was “fairly empty” but when that was lifted at 7 or 8 a.m. on the day of their scheduled flight, the building filled quickly with people and there was some limited pushing and shoving among others trying to leave the country, including Arabs. “The place was very packed and there was no food or water left in the airport.”

People wanted out of the country because no one knew what President Hosni Mubarak was going to do since mass demonstrations were being held against him and his government. At one point an estimated 200,000 protesters had appeared at Cairo's central Tahrir Square during part of a nationwide revolt, growing international pressure and an economy in turmoil. It was also reported via news media that later thousands of supporters of Mubarak attacked anti-government forces in Tahrir Square, some charging the demonstrators atop camels and horses in an attempt to break up their defiant challenge.

Neufeld said in a telephone interview on Wednesday, February 2 that they flew into the country on January 21 and were delayed getting out but finally left on January 30 at around 5 or 6 p.m. She said that for them to get through airport security Harold had to pay a bribe of $500 in Egyptian pounds and U.S. dollars to local staff. If the money was not paid amid the turmoil, the couple would not have been allowed on the plane.
“When we lifted off, I was never so happy to leave some place behind.”

But “There were people we knew were left behind . . . there were just throngs of people. We don’t know Arabic so trying to communicate was difficult. It was scary” added Neufeld who said she was in tears briefly during the ordeal.

She and Harold stayed no more than two feet apart while in the terminal because of the massive crowd and fear that they would not get together again. They did not see any fights break out there but they’re not sure what happened to travel plans of women with babies and little children and old people who were trying to leave the country. The couple was exhausted before they made it on the plane.re the product moves to Canadian or United States markets for use.

Complete story in February 9 edition of The Provost News.
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Street Spokesman
This week we ask: "What Do You Like Best About Curling?"
. . . and we heard answers from Gavin Paulgaard, Karlie Stang, Karlie Stang and Jayden Stang. Check out the February 9 edition of The Provost News for their answers.
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