Tuesday, October 27, an imposing convoy, led by the Lebanese army, arrives rue Pasteur, in Beirut. Onboard: a container several meters long, a safe of white scraps. It was abandoned in Ras Baalbek military base, north of the Bekaa, a valley bent by the mountains, waves of rock and dust, immobilized in time and space.
Removed from a long abandonment to be cleaned and repaired, the safe navigates between buildings and destroyed houses in the capital, in front of the eyes of soldiers, police officers and civilians. Humans and machinery join forces for nearly an hour to install it until viewer applause announces the success of the ultimate maneuver.
Yet this vault that attracted attentions contains no tickets or gold. It's a dispensary. A medical dispensary of the army, rescued from the scrappage and offered to Lebanon thanks to the collaboration of the medical branch of the Lebanese army and the association “Fils de l'Homme”, founded by Sister Agnes Mariam de la Croix, and SOS Chrétiens d'Orient.
Since May last year, Sister Agnes, Franco-Lebanese, Greek Catholic and Superior Mother of the Order of the Unity of Antioch and Arthur Lanternier, Head of Mission in Lebanon, negotiate to obtain and prepare this safe to become a small medical office which will offer the sick free consultation. ′′She's an outstanding woman! The association in Lebanon is proud to be able to work with her to support Beirut's medical services. This is a humble response to one of the biggest issues currently affecting the country”, explains Arthur Lanternier.
This huge container, which required mastery and cold blood to be moved, is not a fairytale treasure. It is a response, a small response, to the suffocating health crisis that has been oppressing the Lebanese people for several years.
Recently five hospitals have had to stop all their treatments due to the shortage of drugs and financial means that attack all branches of health. Doctors, pharmacists, and hospitals are unable to complete their mission. Truth is Covid and the explosion have only stirred up the flames of a disaster that transforms Switzerland of Middle East from day to day into a hell where it is becoming increasingly difficult to live and hope.
That's why we distributed leaflets for the dispensary of the Cedars to inform of its existence all those who are no longer taken care of. As we give our flyers in the old street of thirst, now a huge construction site where bars and restaurants left room for hardware and snacks, where workers replaced an idle youth who dreams of France and America, a woman addresses us.
Recognizing our SOS's red heart, she confesses to us that she needs medical attention before the end of the month. She doesn't know how to get treated, she needs blood tests, medicine... We are not doctors or pharmacists, what can we do? But we explain her that there is a dispensary, the dispensary of the cedars, which can care for her. A smile of relief and happiness illuminate her face and we give her the coordinates of this arch of hope. However, this woman is not the only one...
Elias, who is in his early 50s, suffers from diabetes; he can't find the products needed to care for his illness. Anyway he doesn't even have the money to buy them anymore as the prices have gone too high... There are so many others like him who are not getting anything anymore, who don't know where to go... But when Elias saw the dispensary, he just said ′′Thank you, thank you for everything”.
It was for all these abandoned people that the association wanted to collaborate on this project, bringing its own stone to it through the work of its volunteers and a donation of € 75.000. But we don't want to stop there. Beirut is not the only one suffering. We want to move the dispensary of the Cedars out of the capital. We want it to travel all over the country, go to other cities and villages to provide medical support to the rest of the Lebanese people. They too need help, they too need reasons to hope in their country. Help us transport this little cure all over Lebanon, wishing this little stream would one day be born a river of hope and renewal.
Angélique, volunteer in Lebanon.