The Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo German elderly home was founded in 1898. It provides free care for nearly 60 residents distributed among single, shared rooms and wards.
Still breathing, but not moving
Madame Ellit, 70, a Copt, has a number of sons, one of whom lives in Canada. She decided to take the mansion as a home. She insisted on offering me sweets when I came to visit her.
Many of the residents suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
Amm Saeed, 60, a Muslim, decided to spend the rest of his life in the nunnery to spare his daughter the burden, having suffered a clot in the leg. Throughout his three-year stay, and until his death few months after this photo was captured, Amm Saeed kept this fair smile and this state of inner peace.
6- زاد عدد المشردين المسنين بعد الثورة اكثر بسبب سوء حاله الأقتصاديه
Madame Martina is of French origins. She says she spent her whole life in Alexandria, worked as a translator and married an Egyptian who left her after taking all her possessions. She relies on her work, ironing at the mansion to pay for her stay.
Wilhelm Pelizaeus founded the German elderly home in Alexandria in 1899, and offered it as a grant to the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo. He did not realize, however, that he was offering a gift to the entire old city.
The face of old Alexandria is strongly visible in the inhabitants of the mansion and epitomized in its corners. It was a face of both beauty and disaster, a face where millions flowed from everywhere to the city, just like doves had fallen on its lime outlines, as the myth of the city’s foundation goes.
The old face of Alexandria, rich in beauty, cultural diversity and enlightenment, has recently been attacked by ignorance and fanaticism, and demolisher’s hands have reached its glorious architectural legacy. At the elderly home mansion, I ran into the memory of that aging, poignant face; it was present in its senile residents — remnants of the various foreign communities who had known no home other than Alexandria.
This piece documents all those aspects through a closer look at the daily life of the mansion’s residents: the sisters, as well as the elders, who sought refuge from a distressing memory and a changing world.
Aqeela, a Muslim who suffers from Alzheimer’s, stayed here for several years and died months after this photo was taken.
Sister Maryam preparing the vows.
Maryam, the youngest nun in the mansion, is one of seven Upper Egyptians in the home.
Richard, or Richa, as the nuns like to call him, comes from a Syrian father and an Italian mother and has Down syndrome. Richa is the center of the interest of all nuns, especially Sister Christine, the home’s manager, who acts as substitute for his deceased mother. Christine worked on educating Richa and developing his skills. He now speaks French, Italian and Swedish. Richa is highly sensitive and unique, which makes all workers in the mansion give him plenty of love and tenderness, and this probably helped him to reach age 60 in spite of his illness.
The Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo celebrate the vows of a sister who has just reached her 40th year in nunnery.
Residents enjoy this mansion for its 10,000 square meters of land, the 2,000 meters of construction and an 8,000-meter garden.
Madame Marie moved to the mansion after her husband died seven years ago. She is deaf, has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and sometimes experiences panic seizures, and is sensitive toward photographers. I watched her silently in a moment of contemplation until I managed to snap the photo.