We woke up early to haul the 200 toy bags down 6 flights of stairs, badly underestimating the amount of time and strength it would take! Friend and neighbor, Simon, eventually stepped in to help and we finally got all 200 down to the waiting bus.
Here’s a little clip of the process:
Walid, Adrian and our lovely driver Ahmed, loaded the bus up and we took off on the hour and a half trip to Beka’a.
We arrived at the first camp, Musaab al Tuliani to a waiting crowd of mostly women (dressed in their finest) and cchildren who had been told to expect something special today. Despite the number of people and the anticipation, distribution went pretty seamlessly.
We had a list of the families in each camp and one representative from the family came to pick up their bag, usually accompanied by their children. The “Shawish” or camp manager helped confirm identities and control the environment; it was a very easy going and positive process. Many thanks go to Mehrwan of Kayani who helped organize the entire distribution, from beginning to end, in all four camps. We could not have done it without him.
The kids were thrilled beyond words to be getting an unexpected and special bag of treats.... within fifteen minutes this was happening:
Distribution to the four camps took all day and we handed out 200 bags, which reached about 600 kids and several adults. The mothers were especially happy to see their kids so happy and smiling; they thanked us profusely.
In the meantime, thanks to all the wonderful people who made this very grass roots and personal effort possible. You made HUNDREDS of children VERY happy!
We drove back to Beirut slowly, taking it all in and finally stopping at sunset at a mezze restaurant on the side of the road for an incredible Lebanese meal. Our reward after an intense and beautiful day.