How fair is it that someone’s whole life experience and story can be diminished to one word: ‘refugee’ ?
In a magestic valley that crosses the mountain ranges of Northern Lebanon runs a river all the way to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is called among other names ‘the valley of the saints’, because nesting on its sides and in its caves are hundreds of tiny monasteries and churches, each with its own story to tell. I was on a hike in the valley when out of the lush trees near the river an old man appeared. He carried his bag of green beans and told me his little story. He walks every day for hours from his home in the mountain village to the depth of the valley to tend his little garden; he does not know his age, but he remembers that he was born around the time a wonderful political leader lived. He carried on and on about his first love, the woman who has haunted him all his life and was the reason he never married again. He was on his way to take the ‘loubieh’ (green beans) harvest to her. It is the least he could do he said, because it makes her happy. He has nothing else to offer her, and to his embarrassment not even a car, and that breaks his heart. But he still manages to give her his best, the fruit of his hard work, his wonderful home grown green beans!