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Unlike Most Spaces in the City

I still remember my first time in the boat. I was in awe of the view around me. I was in the heart of Cairo, seeing things from the inside. Unlike most spaces of the city, there was so much greenery. When I started going earlier in the morning, I experienced a sense of serenity like never before. Watching the first lights of the morning and hearing nothing but my oars making their way through the water felt magical. This easily made it my favorite part of the day and that’s how I have been starting my day for the past year.

The first time I came to Cairow, I went alone but what started as a solitary activity ended up bringing me close to some of my current favorite people. This place became my sanctuary. The support I get from my coaches and friends is unmatched. We all come from different walks of life, yet these differences dissipate once we are in a boat together.

In rowing, there is always room for improvement. Once you get the technique right, you realize that you need to learn how to pace yourself, sync with others, and be faster and stronger. With each new skill you learn, you get to experience the beauty of it all over again. You feel the satisfaction of moving with your crew as one, being able to go longer without losing your breath, or moving your boat faster than you thought was possible. But when all of this gets overwhelming, I remember my friend Mona’s words, “I am grateful for the stroke,” and I feel grateful for being on water and getting to relive this magic every day.

Author: Farida El Refaie

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