Michel, 63 years old ,Achrafieh, Mar Mikhael

25 March 2021

“I am a very rich jobless broke man; my family is my fortune and no matter what I would never leave this country”

Michel, in his mid-sixties, used to fight on the battlefield during the civil war but loses hope and feels devastated in times that are supposed to be, times of peace. Father of three daughters and grandparent of five children. They’re all gratefully living together in a tiny old house in Mar Mikhael Achrafieh. The building is old and on top of that, it got crucially affected by the Beirut Explosion. The apartment was totally destroyed, no doors, no windows, nothing left. Even the pipes of the kitchen and bathroom exploded. The tiles were misplaced. The furniture smashed. The bedrooms teared down. Their tiny family house was demolished.

August 4th, 2020 was a normal-sunny day as the citizens of Achrafieh-Mar Mikhael presumes their daily routines regularly. The family of Michel was spending the day on the beach, far away from Beirut. Michel was home alone. “I thanked god that my daughter, wife and grandchildren were late at the beach as the kids refused to get out of the pool. Otherwise, I definitely would have lost my family, my future, my present and my whole life before my eyes. What I witnessed was more than just an explosion. I wonder how I am still alive. It was much more than several years of brutal war. The after effect was even harder than 30 years of war compiled.”

The emotional wrecks appear on his face while describing the voice of the strike. “At first, I heard the strike, the missile passing above my house, it was so close, one minute later came the blast” Michel wept silently before he states the details, it was a cry of despair. He expresses deep sympathy while grieving his own misery.“I feel really sorry for the martyrs and all who lost their lives and beloved ones due to this blast, but I have to tell you that we, who survived, are the living martyrs, we are today living dead”,“Caritas Lebanon and Caritas Youth were our guardian angels”.

The Youth were the first to reach the sight that was once Michel’s family home. The renovation process began. The walls were rebuilt and painted. The windows and doors were fixed. The pipes were restored. New Drawers were offered for the bedroom. Caritas rehabilitation team are still in touch with Michel for more issues to be fixed. Caritas Lebanon’s dynamic intervention included the distribution of food kits, provision of hot meals and medical care. “I am jobless, there is only the Husband of my daughter working in this house, for two million LBP which is valued at 140$ per month. We are living under really hard circumstances. If it weren’t for Caritas Lebanon’s generous support, we wouldn’t have been able to renovate one single brick, I guarantee you we would have been homeless on the streets.” Today Caritas Lebanon will always stand beside this big humble yet rich family, whose members' hearts are filled with gratefulness and peace, despite all the difficulties that surrounded them.

We say in Arabic “embrace the goodness of God always” at every crossroad even when we are bombarded with critical life occurrences. Now we have a home, we are all okay, God sent us Caritas to help us walk on our legs again. God bless every individual wearing a red outfit and a giving heart. May God protect you all”

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