Today’s post is not about a fashionable night out nor is it about a recent event I attended. Today’s post is about the 20 lovely people Ralph and I had the great chance to meet at an elderly home over the weekend.
Let me explain more; Ralph and I have been wanting to volunteer at different charitable organizations for a while now, and decided to start out at an elderly home. So, on Saturday, we packed up a few rotisserie chicken with French fries, hummus, and some ice cream and headed to “Mahabba wa 3ata2″, located in Mountazah, a small town just outside Mansourieh.
We arrived shortly after 12 PM and were instantly met with smiles and welcomes. Let me tell you a little bit about the people we got to meet:
Roger (the most talkative of the group) lived in Belgium for 10 years; he is an expert in antiques and even has an original portrait of Napolean. But of coarse it is now in his family home in Belgium, where his brother and sister live with their children. He is well traveled and speaks 4 languages. Why is he in an elderly home instead of being surrounded by family? He does not say.
George was a wealthy man from Aramoun; as a passionate agricult, he planted and looked after countless pieces of land in his village. Following the death of his brother, his nephews made him sign papers declaring him unfit to manage his estate, took all his assets away, and put him in the home. Although his health is failing- partly due to an amputated leg- his nephews have never paid him a visit throughout the past 4 years he’s spent at Mahabba wa 3ata2.
Nadwa’s brothers and sisters admitted her a little over 2 years ago; she is very silent and smiles shyly when someone talks to her. Jammoul sits quietly in her wheel chair; she is calm throughout the day, but suffers from screaming episodes throughout the night.
Despite all these stories, it’s not all pain and sadness at the home; Roger and his friends Karam and Joseph (who is 93!) have a daily date at 8:30 PM with Hareem El Sultan (they are currently hating on Sultana Khadijah) and were avid fans of Splash. Sophia likes fashion and always has perfectly manicured nails (needless to say I loved her ). Elias likes to play Tawleh and is sometimes joined by neighborhood kids for game in the afternoon.
Throughout the day, I realized something: these Tetas and Jeddos do not need our money and they most certainly do not want our pity. They just need someone to talk to. They’ve been abandoned and hurt by their nearest and dearest, that even a stranger’s smile now means the world to them. Ralph and I spent the day having lunch with them, talking to them, playing cards, and making them feel cared for- Ralph even showed each one the town they’re from on Google maps and taught them how to zoom in and out on and iPhone. In return, they gave us their biggest smiles, thanked us for putting food on their table, and promised to keep us in their prayers every night.
I didn’t take any pictures throughout the day, but Ralph managed to take a single shot that pretty much summarizes it. This is Rose; she told Ralph that she toured the world before finding herself in this home a few years ago. Rose may have had sad eyes, but she gave him her biggest smile to prove that despite all the hardships, she is truly trying to be happy where she is.