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Alumni Participate in Historic Archeology Project in Egypt
FAMU alumni Douglas Carrington and Renita Canady pose for a photo
in front of a pyramid in Egypt.

January 25, 2012

—Renita Canady and Douglas Carrington’s love story is like many Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumni that came before them. They attended FAMU, met, fell in love and got married. However, when it came time for them to celebrate their first anniversary, they did something decidedly different from most couples — they volunteered for an archeology mission in central Egypt.

“We have both always dreamed of traveling to the land of antiquities and literally walking in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors,” said Canady. “So when the opportunity arose for us to go to Egypt with this mission, we jumped at the chance.”
Her husband agreed.
“I wanted this trip to allow me to live out a trip like an Indiana Jones adventure,” he said. 

The mission the couple participated in was the Asa G. Hilard South Asasif Conservation mission funded by the ASA Restoration Project. Dr. Elena Pischikova, an Egyptologist and an authority on Egyptian and Kushite Art of the Late Kingdom, founded the South Asasif Conservation Project. Author and historian Anthony Browder was conducting his annual Egyptian tour in the summer of 2008 when he was introduced to Pischikova. While touring the South Asasif excavation sites, he immediately recognized the importance of her discoveries and made a commitment to support her work.
During the fall after the 2010 season, Browder made a presentation in Washington, DC. He described the findings during that summer’s mission in Egypt by the ASA Restoration Project to local community members. That day, Renita and Doug were in the audience and were captivated by those findings.

“After that presentation, we knew we were going to Kemet (Egypt)!” Doug recalls.

The couple spent two weeks at the South Asasif excavation site. They spent their days handling millennia-old temple artifacts and touring the site’s burial chambers. They roamed the streets of Luxor in the afternoon and evenings, allowing them the opportunity to visit the Valley of the Kings, the famed Temple of Karnak, and dined on the banks of the Nile River.

“We traveled through the deserts of southern Egypt to tour the Temple of Ramses II in Abu Simbel near the Sudanese border,” Doug Carrington said. “After we finished working at the excavation site, we spent several days in Cairo. In Cairo, we visited the Cairo Museum and watched traditional Sufi dancing. Just outside of Cairo, we saw the ancient necropolis of Saqqara and had the rare opportunity to explore the inside firsthand the Great Mir (Pyramid) at Giza. Having these experiences together made our first anniversary truly memorable.”

Canady earned her master’s in business administration from the FAMU School of Business and Industry in 2009. Carrington earned bachelor’s degrees in computer engineering and electrical engineering from the FAMU-Florida State University College of Engineering in 2005. He later served as assistant and then head coach for the swim team.

As an engineering student, student-athlete with swimming, FAMU employee and alumnus, I have worn many hats in my relationship with my alma mater,” Carrington said. “As a student, my studies gave me the perspective to appreciate the work our African ancestors did to create that civilization. As you see the infrastructure, it is an engineering marvel.  It is a wonderful feeling to know that I can tell my children that I made and shaped our history and did not let the world define me. As an alumnus, I understand I am an ambassador wherever I go and what ever I do. So our travels allow us to provide an image about FAMU to those we encounter during our travels around the world.

The duo is currently planning to return to Egypt this summer to continue working on the project.

“The tomb excavation is nearly complete,” he said. I am interested in working with the team to plan and execute the restoration of the tomb site. Also, the temple facility has been found and I would be part of that excavation and restoration. We also are going to take a cruise – maybe down the Nile – and celebrate our second wedding anniversary!”
To learn more about the ASA Restoration Project and potential volunteering opportunities, visit http://www.asarestorationproject.com.

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