Each morning I wake to a loud cry coming through my tightly shuttered windows, “Bekia. Bekia bekia. Bekia bekia bekia.” Sometimes as I am coming back home in the evening I hear it again. It has become the most recognizable cry on the noisy, chaotic Cairo streets. The passion with which this one word is shouted causes it to cut through everything else and float through the entire neighborhood - even up to the highest floors of the buildings.
The first few days I heard the cry I was confused. The men responsible were driving through the streets in small trucks or carts that seemed relatively empty. They had nothing to sell. They didn’t seem to be informing people of an emergency. I didn’t understand why they would be so passionate about nothing, until I asked what the word meant. Its definition changed me.
I had trouble finding an exact translation or definition, but essentially the meaning of “bekia” is “old” or “used.” The men driving around crying out “bekia” are asking the people in the buildings to bring down any electronics or appliances they have that are broken or that they no longer use. They will then take these items and repair them or find a way to use their parts to repair others.
It was powerful to realize that this cry that started my days was actually the promise to take what has been discarded and make it new. Imagine if we all approached our days and our lives this way - with a commitment to take the hurting, broken, and discarded and make them new. This is hope, the kind of hope our world needs. Seeing value in every person and experience (no matter the condition) is transformational. This is what could make our world new. Isn’t it possible this is what we were created for?
“Bekia. Bekia, bekia. Bekia, bekia, bekia.” I don’t ever want to forget what it sounds like and I don’t ever want to forget what living this way could look like. I want to live a life filled with hope so loud that it echoes through the streets and floats up to the tops of the highest buildings. I want to remember that we are all valuable in any condition. We can all be made new and we all have pieces of us that are necessary for the renewal of others. I know that believing this about the world starts with believing this about me.