I remember the night I arrived to Lebanon, with so much enthusiasm and overloaded by information, facts, stories and experiences by Fridrich. Felt so much lucky as he was bringing much light to the actual situation of the country, the political and religious struggles and the reality of refugees, sharing things which we would have never heard otherwise. We have received such updates day by day and learned a lot through it. Still grateful and much impressed by Fridirich’s knowledge, memory and will to share.
I remember the first night and the cold I felt while entering the house and our room and realizing that we’re going to learn how to deal with it. Even if br. Leo and others mentioned it, it shook me up a little, especially when the next morning we went through the village and the refugee children were walking barefoot. Then I knew that gradually this condition will become part of what we share with the people here and it will work out.
I remember the olive trees, the hills covered by rooks and the mystical feeling of an old land which is still so alive through the sounds of many cheerful birds and people. A beautiful country with so many colors and shadows.
Day by day I came to realize and learn little by little how to understand, love and give the best I can, despite of challenges and circumstances.
Inner beauty through shades of misery
Looking back at the people we interact and worked with, the refugees in Bqarzla and Tall Aabba – the children and their families – I have seen so much beauty and strength in them, despite their miseries and I have lots of respect in regards to their struggles in order to develop and keep their dignity. Being present, in a humble way within our limitations, still brought us together and made us able to share, to laugh and to acknowledge each other. I remember how much tea we drank, the google translate conversations, their curiosity and especially their generosity. Maybe I didn’t understand enough and couldn’t listen to their stories, but those simple meetings brought us closer. I remember the New Year’s Eve, as we organized a little celebration for them and with the rush and chaos we experienced, it mattered and it was one of the most special new years that I recall.
The children, their energy and enthusiasm overwhelmed us many times. We had big aspirations but day by day we let ourselves be lead by what they needed and learned how to be with them. We overcame our fears of being ‘not able to teach them something’ or do something ‘very ambitious’ and we came to realize that the space we provided for them was already sufficient – letting them express themselves and be stimulated with little things. Moreover, to be treated with care and warmth and you could see their joy overflowing. For sure they don’t have easy childhoods and lack much of the structure, stability and resources needed for their development and in this context, R&R is trying to be present and offer the best support.
Journeys towards the discovery of each other
Grateful for Bqerzala community, the youth and all the people within religious contexts that we met as they helped us to understand their culture and they showed kindness and generosity. With little steeps, we came to know each other and with great joy I will remember the young people who were welcoming us in their lives and shared with us in such a genuine and natural way. Both sides we have learned, had time for reflection, shared valuable moments and became friends.
All religious meetings (Maronites, Orthodox, Baptists and Muslims) brought us closer to the meaning of divinity with so much diversity and expressions of faith. To me, they all speak all the same language but use different words. And we could witness it from the outside, ask questions and make them reflect upon our presence. Much more grateful I am to Taize for giving me the opportunity to further explore, reflect and get closer to the source.
Joy of sharing and living in community
The morning prayers, the sharings, the company of each other, the support and permanent feeling of communion was there and it feels that it was the center of what we lived in Lebanon. The whole experience was built on it and as the structure was strong, we could easily grow in confidence towards our mission. I am very grateful for it and I thank the girls for their presence and the genuine bonds which were created in this time.
And this was Lebanon for me, with small words and gratitude.
Special thanks to Fridrich and R&R, Br. Leo, Julia, Rafaela, Raquel, Abbi, Samer, Johnny, Michael and all those who were on our way!