Put that in your Pipe and Smoke it.

4 12 2009

Today we met the principal of the school and his wife.. It was interesting to find out how the school runs, is funded, and plans for the future of the school.

They came back to Andrea’s for lunch, along with visitors from Beirut.  Later on we went for a walk round the harbour of Tyre. We visited another two teachers from the school.   They served us Arabic tea (very nice) and got out their narguilehs to smoke while we were there.

John had been bombarding them with questions about their lives and one of them shared a little about hers. She’d been an only child and her parents put pressure on her to marry when she was 15 years old. She’d resisted until she was 18, when her marriage was arranged to a man 15 years older than her. Her mother died a few years later, happy that her daughter had a husband to look after her. A short time later, her husband died in an accident at work, leaving her with three young girls to raise herself. She told us that her work at the school has “saved her life” because it has given her a decent, regular income.

It was her turn to ask questions and she asked John if he smoked. He told her that in our culture we’re very aware of the link between smoking and cancer so, no, he didn’t smoke. She smiled as she replied that in her culture she’s very aware of death and war – so she does smoke!

He needed a latte after that so off we went to Costa in Tyre. Ah, bliss. Although it was now 11pm, a colleague of Andrea’s saw us and insisted we visit her flat when we left. More people arrived when we got there and we had another round of teas and coffees. One of the couples had 4 years old twin girls with them. They asked me my name (with some translating help). Their faces lit up – Fiona, from Shrek!

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