* * * * *
Mama Maggie, born Maggie Gobran, is an Egyptian Coptic Christian. Having grown up in a well-to-do family, she nonetheless found her home and calling with the poor who live outside greater Cairo, in the waste from the city. Fifty thousand such residents pick up and sort the city’s trash, looking for anything that can be re-used, re-cycled, re-furbished—or all too often, simply eaten. Almost half of the children born there will die before the age of five—and all this within sight of a “modern” city.
The woman in white, Mama Maggie, seeks God in unlikely places and brings Him to the suffering “garbage people” of Cairo and elsewhere. For years, she has encouraged people around the world to help her in her cause, becoming a sort of Mother Theresa to the area and for this age. She has provided food, built schools, provided medical care, and more. Her story will challenge readers and will open their eyes to the plight of a religious minority in a part of the world increasingly under attack from ideological/religious zealots.
Notwithstanding the difficult lives I read about in Mama Maggie, I found Makary’s emphasis to mirror Mama Maggie’s own. That is, this is less a story of suffering and more one of hope, less one of the downtrodden and more one of the upwardly moving, less a tale of those in need, and more a chronicle of those, like Mama Maggie, who are meeting those needs, finding blessing in the process. Mama Maggie will lift your consciousness and leave you looking for your opportunity to meet the need.