Sub-genre: Memoir, Teaching Abroad
Publication Date: 2016
More memoir and review of two years in Egypt than a true travel narrative, Kids, Camels, and Cairo was not my favorite type of travel book, but still has some great insights and honest stories about teaching in Egypt. The book made me, at least, want to know more and think about a trip to Egypt myself.
Since Dobbe was teacher and someone who lived in Cairo (and who had lived ten years abroad in different cultures already), I was hoping Dobbe would be sharing more about the culture and situations she found herself in. She gets to go to a party of her female Egyptian colleagues, for example, yet her brief description of it left me wanting more. That’s not to say the book doesn’t give some good background on Egypt, travels in the country, school life, and Cairo—there is much to be learned about all in these pages, though the breaks between stories and facts sometimes feels disjointed. And at the end, Dobbe gives some good advice for people who might be traveling or living abroad for the first time.
Dobbe holds no punches about her feelings about different aspects of the culture and school life and the honesty of the writing and stories is a strength of Kids, Camels, and Cairo, even when the reader might disagree with her perceptions. The writing falls into cliché a little too often, but you are able to see the school and city through Dobbe’s own learning and wide-eyed naivety and her ability to laugh at herself is laudable. For someone wanting to teach at an international school or get an introduction to Egypt, I recommend the book.
I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.