Sunday, July 23, 2006

the tenth day at the school

Here are some of the characters from the school and their stories. You will notice that I only talk to women and children because men seem somehow inaccessible.

Mrs. Sh.:
She has six kids, four of them are in the school. One is still working in Dahiye (Southern Suburb) and the other is fighting with Hezbollah. They havent heard from him in days and he doesnt know where they are. The mom's younger child is 3 year-old S. who is a rabbit killer. She has killed rabbits before by choking them. She enjoys squashing the heads of pigeons too. She has a 4 year old brother H. who doesnt speak much, an older brother Hu. who is 15 and super hyperactive. We tried everything with him but what finally worked is Mickey Mouse magazine.

Imm H.:
She has four boys and one girl, A. All of them are at the school. A. is 11 and she's really too mature for her age. She looks after all the other kids. Doesnt ask for anything and is always waiting to go back home to Dahiye to take a shower. Her mother doesnt leave her room. The little girl invited me to visit her mom in her (class-)room. Imm H. greeted me at the entrance of the classroom as if it was her home. Her room has 5 mattresses, one coffee table and a small TV that she watches all the time. It was a typical visit: she asked if I was married, I asked her where she was from. And like a typical visit, she told me "3idiya" ("come back").

Imm F.:
Imm f. has 9 kids. Some of them are at the school; others are working in or around Dahiye. She has two younger daughters F. (7) and Z. (4) whose heads she completely shaved because she didnt want them to catch fleas. F. is always hugging and kissing the volunteers, hugging and kissing everybody and always asking for attention from everybody etc. Later I learned that she is in a school in Beirut on a full-board system but she happened to be with her parents when they had to leave.

Imm H.:
She arrived yesterday with four kids between 9 and 17. She lives in Dahiye where her house is still standing. She obviously looks very different than the rest of the families. Her kids are bilingual, they go to a private school, her 16 year old is not veiled unlike the other teenage girls. Her husband works abroad and has only called them once and hasnt called since. She had some money to rent a flat for 200$ around Beirut but thought she'd keep the money for emergency. She's getting her family's passports and they dont know where they're going to go. She asked me to talk to her 16 year old about what she can major in when she goes to University. This family was sitting on the side. They went to take a shower in their house in Dahiye and then came back to sleep at the school.

- Now there are representatives (woufoud) from families in each school going to other schools to visit their relatives or friendcondolencesdoleances "lal ta'aziye" for those who died. This is the most surreal scene I've witnessed so far.

- Some families come from Dahyie, and some of those go regularly to their houses to get their stuff and take showers. The good news is that they may have the chance to go back to Dahyie once all this is over.

- Two or three families are staying in each room


Blogger Old Man said...

I really appreciate all your efforts to combine the horrendous stats with the even more shocking stories on the ground. I hope you don't have cause to continue this blog for much longer though.

July 23, 2006 7:02 pm  

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