October 12, 2010
Tour Egypt makes a sphinx bed for Extreme Makeover
By Rowan El Shimi
Dakota Hampton is an eleven year old who besides going to school, doing his homework and seeing his friends has always wanted to go to Egypt and have an adventure. Dakota had always lived with his direct family; his mother, father and sister. They are a rodeo family who love horses and are very loved in their community.
Three years ago, a knock on the door changed this familys life forever. A social worker came into their 800 square foot home with their four young nieces and nephews. The Hamptons were given the choice either to take them in or let them go into foster care. They had one hour to decide. Being the loving family they are they took them in and for two years the six children Dakota, Hannah, Jacob, Leslie, Kira and Gage along with the parents Chris and Nicki lived in a tiny two bedroom house. A house where the roof was caving in, the ceiling had suffered a lot of water damage and three of the kids had to share a twin sized bed.
They sent their story to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and as soon as the producers and hosts saw it they said These guys have so much love, so much heart but they dont have any space! and they decided to give them just that.
Extreme makeover set out to Missouri to check the Hamptons little house and get to know them as people to see how best to give them a new home. They got to know the children and the parents on a personal level and planned out a strategy on how to give them the home of their dreams. After that they sent the family on vacation on a Disney cruise and they had one week to finish everything!
During the week Extreme Makeover was updating the family with what was going on, but without giving away any surprises. They even got Ashley Tisdale, teen idol who starred in the ever so popular high school musical, to come help out with the build and perform for the family in their new home after the vacation. She also got guitars for all the kids.
When designing Dakotas room, they knew of his love for Egypt and sense of adventure. They got in contact with Tour Egypts online store Virtual Khan and our offices in Cairo decided to give Dakota the room of his dreams.
We wanted to do this for Dakota because he seemed really passionate about Egypt Said Karim Elemam, one of the CEOs of Tour Egypt I guessed that his passion would inspire other people to visit this magnificent country.
It wasnt an easy task too. They had a total of ten days to not only ship many different souvenirs and material for the room, but they also had to find a Sphinx bed for Dakota. No one makes a sphinx bed, believe me, I checked Jimmy Dunn, CEO and founder of Tour Egypt stated.
Karim set off to Sayeda Aisha, an old neighborhood in Down Town Cairo, which has many talented woodcraftsmen We actually had to spend three days in Sayeda Aisha to sit and oversee the work being done to make sure it is finished on time. Elemam explained.
The interesting thing was that the workers knew the TV show since it had been dubbed in Arabic on satellite Television, He smiled They were actually very excited that their work would appear on TV and Dakotas story actually motivated them to finish on time He added.
However, the challenges didnt just end there. After the bed was made, all the souvenirs were packed and everything was ready to be shipped by air to the United States, they learned that the bed could make it all the way to Atlanta on a flight but not further than that due to its size. After many emails, phone calls and endeavors, the shipment finally arrived in Missouri.
As the Hamptons arrived back to their new home, they were astonished. They were welcomed by Ashley Tisdale performing in their garage with many members of their neighborhood there watching and welcoming them. They also found out all their kids were getting scholarships for university. Not to mention that their home was huge, more beautiful and done to fit their style and personality as people and a family.
For Dakota, He shrieked and jumped in joy as soon as he caught a glimpse of his bedroom. My room is the coolest room, having an Egypt room makes me want to go to Egypt even more! He said happily I wanna see the Sphinx now! The real one!
Jowill Leano, the Design Producer of the show explained to Dakota after the show all the effort and story that was put into his room. He was very touched that Egyptians he didnt even know would do such a nice thing for him.
Tour Egypt was very happy to participate in this event and hopes that Dakota is enjoying the room of his dreams still.