Beneficiary's testimony - The explosion in Beirut, the beginning of a long way of the cross

EN - Friday, 02 October 2020

Two months after the double explosion that shook the whole of Beirut, the Lebanese are still in shock. While visiting the families who have lost everything, we met Sadah. This elderly lady lives on the penultimate floor of a six-storey building. She tells us about the day when everything changed.

"It was a huge, black mushroom that rose up. And then suddenly, everything became all white": her flat had just been blown up in a fraction of a second.

Sadah admits to us in a sob that if she survived this explosion "it's a sign of Saint Charbel who hasn't left me." On the floor below, her neighbour wasn't so lucky, he died.

sos chretiens orient liban beneficiaire volontaire siteOur friend continues her story. A few minutes after the shock, lying on the ground, she can't get up. Her ears are ringing, everything around her is cloudy. Through her misty eyes, she sees an apocalyptic scene. Hell must not be much different from her flat at that moment. After ten minutes, shocked and upset, she manages to get up and lift her shutter, which was only holding on one hinge. She had just come close to death.

All her windows were destroyed. Pieces of glass and wood lie all over her flat. "There were even pots and pans from my neighbour across the street that were thrown into my house. Imagine if I had hit one of them... Thank God! "

As Sadah opens the piece of door that is still partially hanging from the doorframe, he hears cries and screams. Everyone wonders what has just happened. No one understands. She slowly descends the stairs, cluttered with pieces of stone: "Everything, but really everything, was destroyed? What has happened? "

Very quickly, her neighbours run towards her. They know that Sadah has been living alone for a long time.

"When I arrived on the street, I didn't recognize her. I thought I was in a nightmare, nothing was the same. A white car was crushed by a huge rock and the streets were full of debris," she says with a tight throat and eyes full of tears.

That day was only the first of a long Way of the Cross. Sadah remains traumatized to this day. "When I sleep, I still have nightmares. I see the explosion again and everything is still all white. I wake up screaming and can't go back to sleep. "

Sadah is still suffering from the after-effects of her fall in her flat during the explosion. Her hand has lost much of its motor skills. Even the smallest things she can no longer carry with one hand. "Even my rosary, I can no longer do it with this hand!" Her back also causes her a lot of pain. She can no longer bend down and walks with difficulty. She has managed to have an X-ray and medical appointments thanks to financial aid from humanitarian associations.

"But how long will this last? I won't be able to afford medicines every day," she says. "I can no longer live in these conditions, I have nothing left! I've lost everything and the government is doing nothing to help the poorest. "

For her, Lebanon, already on the edge of the abyss with the economic crisis, finds itself on its knees with this new drama. "One too many!"sos chretiens orient liban volontaire site

She ends up telling us that she "no longer has the strength or the will to fight for her life".

But thanks to the donors of SOS Chrétiens d'Orient, we have brought her food and we visit her regularly. As soon as we walk through her door, she welcomes us with a big smile. Before leaving we take the time to recite a "Hail Mary" in French and an "Our Father" in Arabic. These moments of prayer and discussion are always a pleasure and bring balm to our hearts. Sadah is no longer alone now.

"Thank you SOS, thank you for everything! Thank you Habibi! " Sadah tells us as she closes her door.

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Olivier, volunteer in Lebanon