Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Well, it's 6:30 AM. Just made myself some Turkish coffee,(you boil the sugar and coffe grounds 3 times) and am getting read for the day to start. The weather this year has been much better than last year, temps in low 90's and humidity only in low 60'%. At least this year after you dry off from a shower you are not soaking wet from sweat.
I'm am sure you have heard of the car bombing in south Beirut yesterday. It was in a Hizbullah neighborhood and apparently directed at them, not one has claimed responsibility. Speculation as to those behind the bomb range from the US, Isreal, and Syrian Resistance forces to any number of anti-Hizbullah forces. The folks here are not terribly worried about it, the expect the Hizbullah leadership to take thier time and determine who was behind it and then retaliate in a very surgical manner. I guess Lebanese politics show more steel and a less velvet veneer than Stateside.
There were a couple of boys yesterday that did not obey the team when they were told to get out of the pool and get ready, so today they will be sitting out for 5 or 10 minutes while everyone else goes swimming. If it's like last year, those who get to go swimming immediatly, will not hesitate to swing by and inform those being punished how nice and cool the water is!
Tonight we plan to have an assembly and give the boys and staff the gifts we brought from church members for them. We requested the church members sign up to buy tennis shoes for the boys and to place small items, ie. socks,toys etc., all in a large zip lock along with a letter to the boy and a picture of the family giving the shoes. For the male staff we brought dry fit shirts and for the women staff we brought bath lotions. When I wrote to ask the administration here what would be some things to bring to the staff, they replied no team had ever asked to bring anything to the staff.
The staff here are amazingly dedicated. Of the three housemothers, 2 have been housemothers for over 20 years, one has been a housemother for over 16 years. The current director of Dr el Awlad has been with them for 24 years. These are amazing staff and they deserve to be recognized and applauded for thier dedication.
We brought shoes for the boys last year and this year some of them have seen the shoes piled up on a table in one of the apartments. They keep asking about them, we keep telling them they have imagined something that is not there, or they are assuming what they saw is for them. Many of them are quick to point out to us that they are wearing the shoes we brought them last year. While they appreciated the shoes, what made it even more special is the pictures and letter from those who send the gifts. No longer was it an anonymus donor. It was real people. They asked us if we knew the people and to tell them some more about them.
Will be writing this in stages today. Just set the breakfast table. Breakfast today is pita bread, olives, a cream type cheese made from yogurt, tomatoes, cucumbers, luncheon meat, cheese, coffee, tea with mint. No bacon, eggs and grits today. I think breakfasts are the most difficult for the team in that they are the most unfamiliar to American tastes.
For lunch yesterday they served hamburgers and french fries. They set the tables outside and all the boys and team ate together. The biggest difference was they put the french fries on the hamburger between the meat and bun. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. It is a special treat for the boys. For lunch Monday we had peas,carrots and potatoes cooked in a tomato sauce and served over rice. Supper is usually a light sandwich type meal.
We had told the team we will be eating what they serve the boys and if anyone needed anything else to eat there is a grocery store next door with most anything you could desire. It is a two storey grocery store with an escalator and an escalator for your grocery cart so you can take it up to the second floor and continue shopping!!!
This morning, after we did the schoolwork with the boys, Kimberly continued with the theme of Being a Neighbor. The story she used was the prodigal son and had the boys to act out the story. I think it had extra meaning for the boys when the boys acted it out. I think the theme of Being a Neighbor is very appropriate this year for Lebanon, both in terms of external neighbors as well as internal neighbors.
The big event this evening was giving the boys and staff the gifts from the church. They were so excited. They open the bags and immediatly went for the letters from the givers, then they ran around to us asking us if we knew you, "Please read me my letter", What will I say?
I think the most shocked were the staff. They were not surprised we brought items for the kids, but for them! We know whatever we bring will not change the lives of the children or the staff but it does help remind them that they are loved and appreciated.
 Isn't that what we all seek and need?

Tim Smith

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