Some Fargoans watch Egypt closelySarah Mayo’s boyfriend “Mino” was supposed to board an airplane Monday from Egypt to Fargo to meet the North Dakota State University senior’s family for the first time. Instead, he and his father and two brothers are part of a neighborhood watch group in Alexandria, Egypt, guarding against thugs and looters who might try to take advantage of otherwise peaceful political protests in Egypt since last week, she said.
By: By Mike Nowatzki, Forum communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
Sarah Mayo’s boyfriend “Mino” was supposed to board an airplane Monday from Egypt to Fargo to meet the North Dakota State University senior’s family for the first time.
Instead, he and his father and two brothers are part of a neighborhood watch group in Alexandria, Egypt, guarding against thugs and looters who might try to take advantage of otherwise peaceful political protests in Egypt since last week, she said.
“I really want to be there,” said Mayo, who spent 15 months in Alexandria before returning to Fargo in August.
The Fargo native and Fargo North High alum earned a scholarship to study Arabic in Egypt for two months during the summer of 2009. She decided to stay longer when she landed a job teaching English to kindergartners.
Mayo, former president of the Arabic Language and Cultural Student Association at NDSU, said she had kept in close contact with her friends in Egypt since returning, but communications have been constant since protests began a week ago.
“What’s really surprised me is how restrained the protestors have been,” she said.
During her time in Egypt, Mayo said she met people so disenfranchised by President Hosni Mubarak’s rule that they didn’t vote in elections because they felt the outcome was predetermined.
Others, including her upper-class boyfriend, don’t see the need for a change in leadership — a view that has led to the couple “kind of arguing” about whether Mubarak should be ousted, she said.
Meanwhile, the daughter of a Fargo couple plans to stay in Egypt despite the protests, hoping to continue studying an ancient Egyptian tomb, her father said Monday.
Suzanne Onstine is the daughter of Scott and Diane Onstine of Fargo and a professor of archeology at the University of Memphis (Tenn.). She’s in Luxor, Egypt, about 400 miles southeast of Cairo, with two students for a two-month project.
Scott Onstine said his daughter talked to her husband Richard Sherman in Memphis on Monday.
“They may not want to leave Egypt at the moment. They have been out in the streets. Things are quiet in Luxor, much more quiet than what is up in Cairo,” Scott Onstine said, adding they feel they may be able to resume work on the tomb in the next few days.
Protestors burned down the ruling party’s building in Luxor, but the police station was saved, he said.
Suzanne Onstine, who spent part of her childhood in Fargo-Moorhead when her parents lived here in the 1970s, has been to Egypt about a dozen times since she first started going there in 1990, said her father, who used to work at WDAY.
“We feel she’s confident, she knows the territory, she knows the people, she knows the language, and she’s been very comfortable with it,” Scott Onstine said. “But there are those times like this that get rather nerve-racking because you don’t know which way they’re going to go with their protests.”
Mike Nowatzki is a reporter at the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.