They’re part of a club at Amjad High School that is partnering with Blessed School to do service projects. While we worked on preparing holiday meals for people in need (hence the hair nets), I got a chance to connect with a lot them.
What were these Middle East kids like? –Mature; Thoughtful; Polite; Intelligent; Fun.
There were a lot of great things I learned about them. For one thing, Diversity is something they live out in daily life (Lebanon has 18 different religious groups living in a country 3/4 the size of Connecticut). One group of friends shared that they are made up of all the main religious groups, each holding on to their unique cultural/religious identity while supporting each other as classmates and friends.
Like lots of teens today, they face a lot of pressure and demands. The Lebanese curriculum is outstanding, but requires a lot from you. There is a lot of expectation to excel and prepare for college.
It was really cool to share with them how Elmarie and I choose to live here, and they were visibly delighted to hear me talk about how much I love Lebanon and the Middle East–the food, the people, the culture.
Of course, that got them talking about the problems–with politicians, job opportunities, etc. Lot’s of young people talk about how much better life would be in other countries…
This is where I got to offer sage advice–every place has its problems, and every place is an opportunity for you to choose if you want to do something about those problems.
One of kids approached me to thank me for helping him to appreciate and see his country in a new light, and to think more seriously about being involved in bettering his community.
That was cool to hear, I must say.
Before the morning was over, we were taking pictures with each other and exchanging Facebook info.