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Visit of a retirement home in Mina

EN - Friday, 21 August 2020

Lebanese Christians are isolated, we help them, visit them. Support our action, make a donation!

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In the already warm air of this Wednesday morning, we all go out to Mina's retirement home where we are meeting for the first time. On the way, we meet Elios and Gabi, our young performers. Recently met and already adopted, these two brothers, aged 12 and 17, quickly became infallible volunteers.

SOS Chrétiens Orient maison retraite Tripoli 2

Retirement house ? A large, well-kept house which accommodates 23 elderly people. On the women's floor, the smile of the caregivers tells us a lot about their joy in meeting us. We respond with the same benevolence to their radiant looks.

Wearing a mask mandatory, complete disinfection of volunteers with a hydroalcoholic spray, the necessary measures are drastic. In fact, we are the first external visitors to be able to enter since the deconfinement. After a few words of welcome, everyone finds their place with the residents.

On the program, joint presentations:

"We are young French people, volunteers at SOS Chrétiens d´Orient and we come to offer you some of our free time to show you that in France, we support you and pray for you".

SOS Chrétiens Orient maison retraite Tripoli 4

"Thank you ktir habibi" answer us in heart the old ladies with their sparkling eyes. And in their deep smiles, we already perceive gratitude and joy. Our visit seems a glimmer of hope for the future in the hearts of these Lebanese women.

“Have you been to France once in your life? ". To this innocent question from one of the volunteers, follows a magnificent answer that we are far from forgetting: "We would so much like to visit our mother France, the protector of Lebanon on whom we count so much" While these words still resonate in the vast room, we feel how our presence recalls this friendship of Franco-Lebanese Christianity. This call to fidelity which is launched to us from the depths of Lebanon, from now on we will never forget it again!

And in the silence that still hangs for a moment, we savor the sweetness of an almost solemn atmosphere, a sweet blend of faithful friendship and renewed promise.

SOS Chrétiens Orient maison retraite Tripoli 5

The questions follow one another about their old jobs, their ages, their family lives ... From the French teacher to the domestic worker and the stay-at-home mother, all have had very different backgrounds. One thing is certain, fortunately Gabi and Elios are still with us to translate!

Karimé, 82, has even traveled four times to the United States where his son lives. Maha, a large neon pink rosary around the neck, has a French license. A teacher all her life at the Saints-Cœurs School in Mina, she greatly facilitates communication.

The visit to the women comes to an end and, as so often, the visit ends with common prayer in Arabic and then in French.

The stairs down, the small garden crossed, it is in the men's section that we now arrive.

 A different atmosphere reigns here: while the women are all grouped together and discuss in the living room, the men go about their business. What is certain is that here too we have come to demonstrate once again French support for Christians in Lebanon. Moreover, our sincere and generous smiles, still deeply marked by the visit to the women, prove it.

The older ones, sitting in their armchairs, smoke their cigarettes while drinking coffee, while others read or sew masks.

A surprising coincidence: one of our volunteers is a seamstress by training! Within seconds everyone pulls apart and Nolwenn starts sewing a mask. As soon as she is finished, she offers her work to Elios, our young translator, to thank him for his presence.

No question of leaving without planning a new visit to perpetuate our new activity! Their prayers in Arabic and then our songs in French demonstrate the unwavering bond between France and the Christians of Lebanon. And it is at this precise moment that we measure all the beauty and the greatness of the universal Church that we bring to life in this room.

Therefore, it is essential for us to perpetuate our visits here. Immediately said, immediately done: we are now in the office of Samira, the director of the retirement home. From now on, we will regularly spend time with them to sing along with a volunteer’s guitar, play cards and chat with our new Lebanese friends.

 

Lebanese Christians are isolated, we help them, visit them. Support our action, make a donation!

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