After the revolution, volunteers begin clean-up operations in Tahrir

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Wielding broomsticks and garbage bags and fueled by their inability to participate in the past weeks’ protests, many Egyptians joined a grassroots initiative to clean up the post-revolution Tahrir Square.

Mahmoud Bondok and Ahmed Alaa are among many AUCians who signed up for the project.

“I was so ashamed of myself when I thought what I would tell my future kids, when they ask how I contributed to the January 25 Revolution,” Bon- dok, a sophomore, said.

Feeling the need to contribute to the changes taking place in their country, Bondok and Alaa created a Facebook group called “Egypt will rise” on February 11.

In less than 24 hours the group had approximately 25 members, including non-AUCians.

The members made their way to the square on February 12 to find that they were not alone in their endeavor.

“We weren’t surprised that we were neither the first nor the only people cleaning there,” Bondok said.

Despite the number of people present at the square, the students felt compelled to stay on and honor their group’s main goal, to make a difference.

“We blended in; the fact that we are AUCians didn’t really matter or make a difference in any way. We were going as Egyptian citizens and not as AUC students. We were primarily going to offer an extra hand and take part in helping the people that helped make history,” Alaa said.

Several AUCians also went on their own initiative and brought reinforcements.

“I wasn’t for the revolution, but when I participated in cleaning Tahrir I saw a promising future. If only each one took this inspirational spirit to work,” one student’s parent told The Caravan.

Many of the volunteers said Tahrir Square was full of positive and promising energy.

The “Egypt will rise” group still tries to recruit volunteers to help improve the country mainly by going to public areas to clean on weekends.

“We want to help in every possible way, even if we are going to collect volunteers for already existing causes or organizations like Ressala and the food bank,” Alaa and Bondok said.