Tuesday, March 11, 2014

We awoke this morning at 4:00 a.m., our bodies feeling the effects of jet lag and not able to sleep.  After reading, getting ready, and having breakfast, we decided to head down to await our taxi to go to the Beirut Baptist School(BBS).  After experiencing the Lebanese rush hour traffic, we finally arrived at the school.  To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when we arrived.  I knew that I would be working with students doing presentations and Tim would be working with the school nurse, but neither of us knew exactly what might be expected of us.  I had planned several different drug and alcohol presentations and lessons for the students, but wasn’t sure which would be most beneficial.  I also wasn’t sure how my lessons would be received by the students at BBS.   A little nervous, I was directed to my first classroom full of 7th grade students and as I walked up to the 4th floor classroom I kept thinking about the words of encouragement Jenn said to me before I left Waco, “Kids are kids everywhere, and you’re good with kids.”  I hoped that was true.  After introducing myself to the students and telling them a little about myself, I began my presentation on the effects of drug abuse on the brain.  I felt this was the most universal presentation I could conduct without too many changes for cultural differences.  After presenting in 5 different 7th and 8th grade classes I realized that the students were indeed like most of the other students I’ve had over the past 6 years in Central Texas.  They listened intently to my presentation (for the most part).  They asked good questions about drugs and brain development.  They laughed at my ridiculous jokes and wanted to know more about my family, including our dog and cat.   They shared concerns about family members or neighbors who have used and in one case even self-disclosed a one-time previous use.  However, my two favorite moments of the day came in the form of two simple questions from two different students.  One student asked me why I would come to Lebanon from the US at this time.  It seemed like a very brave and odd thing for me to do.   I simply answered that I loved Lebanon and wanted to be with them at their school this week and that it was not actually my first time in Lebanon. I then told them of our work the past two summers at Dar El Awlad and was asked when we could come to do a summer program with BBS by the students in that class.  Another student in another class asked me what Religious Education (my BA) and Prevention Sciences (my professional certification) have to do with one another.  It’s honestly a question I often get back home as well.  I was able to answer honestly and say that when I studied Religion, I believed God wanted me to work with teenagers but I realized that I was not supposed to work with teenagers in the Christian church.  With my certification in prevention sciences I am able to work with the teenagers that I believe God wants me to work with.  I could have never guessed when I began this journey in drug and alcohol prevention over 6 years ago that would include teenagers in Lebanon as well. 

Josh Caballero

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