Cairo butcher offers shelter for children with cancer

Zaza Ogaz, 50, plays with 2-year-old Retaj (L) and Yehia (R), both diagnosed with cancer, in the free housing he offers to patients receiving treatment at a nearby cancer hospital, in Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)
Updated 14 February 2018
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Cairo butcher offers shelter for children with cancer

CAIRO: Three years ago, Cairo butcher Zaza Ogaz decided to do something to help families bringing their children to a nearby cancer hospital.
He took an empty apartment in his building, fixed it up with beds and furniture and offered it free to families who would otherwise have to rent rooms in the neighborhood while their children were having chemotherapy and other treatments.
“I got the idea because I felt bad after I found people renting apartments or beds to patients for large amounts of money,” Ogaz said.
“So I decided that I would do something for free and I won’t accept donations. Why should people suffer from not only sickness but also high expenses?“
The 50-year-old provides meals, which he pays for from the proceeds of his butcher’s shop.
Families can stay as long as they need. Ogaz refuses to accept donations, saying he is doing his charitable work in honor of his late mother and mother-in-law.
In the entrance hall, children’s scooters are parked next to wheelchairs. In a bedroom decorated with cartoons of Winnie the Pooh and Minnie Mouse, children watch television. Some have traveled with their families from distant parts of Egypt.
“I came here and he welcomed me and I found a place to stay. I told him I am not moving until I am done,” said Om Israa, a mother whose child is being treated at the hospital.
“He treats the children very well. He buys gifts and plays with them.”


Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

Updated 38 min 7 sec ago
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Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

PARIS: The hotly hyped “British jazz invasion” has been the toast of international scenesters for some months now, with breathy adjective-heavy sprawls penned on both sides of the Atlantic paying tribute to a fresh generation of musos who grew up not in the conservatoires but the clubs, channelling the grit and groove of grime into a distinctly hip, 21st century strain of freewheeling, DIY improvised music.

Now the Arab world has its own outpost in the form of Chip Wickham, a UK-born flautist, saxophonist and producer whose second album grew out of extended stints teaching in the GCC. “Shamal Wind” takes its name from the Gulf’s primal weather patterns, and there’s a distinctly meditative, Middle Eastern vibe to the title track, a slow-burning, moody vamp, peppered with percussive trills, with hints of Yusef Lateef to be found in Wickham’s wandering woodwind musings.

There’s rather less goatee-stroking to be found across the four further up-tempo cuts, which swap soul-searching for soul-jazz, soaked in the breezy bop of a vintage Blue Note release. Recorded over a hot summer in Madrid, a heady Latin pulse drives first single, “Barrio 71” — championed by the likes of Craig Charles — with Spanish multi-percussionist David el Indio steaming up a block party beat framing Wickham’s gutsy workout on baritone sax.

Having previously worked with electronic acts, including Nightmares on Wax and Jimpster, one imagines the dancefloor was a key stimulus behind Wickham’s rhythmically dense, but harmonically spare compositional approach. Phil Wilkinson’s sheer, thumped piano chords drive the relentless nod of second single “Snake Eyes,” Wickham’s raspy flute floating somewhere overhead, readymade to be skimmed off for the anticipated remix market.

In truth, Manchester-raised Wickham is both too thoughtful, and too thoughtless, to truly belong to the London-brewed jazz invasion — Shamal Wind yo-yos between meditative meandering and soulful strutting with a wilful disrespect for trend.