Ten weeks. This was the timeline for my internship with Teach for Lebanon and as well the time I had to explore Lebanon, a country to which I had never been before. I remember being very excited about the upcoming adventure!
The TFL Team welcomed me very warmly and integrated me from the first day. I quickly learned the basic principle of Teach for Lebanon: training the most promising graduates and placing them into schools with less privileged children to generate benefits for both sides. The values taught – like active citizenship or gender equality – go beyond the regular schedule of the schools and help the students to believe in themselves and to make the best out of their multiple talents. The TFL mission shapes indeed the future generation of the country and I felt from the very beginning that both, the TFL Team and the Fellows are passionate about their mission.
During my internship I learned what it means to work in an NGO, I got to know the different work areas and could contribute my experience from Germany, where I am managing refugee settlements. Apart from that I certainly did witness an exceptional period of time in Lebanon, as the “thawra” broke out. It was the first word I could read in Arabic and it should influence my whole stay in Lebanon. Besides a lot of stunning and impressing experiences I made, it also meant, that schools were closed for weeks and work couldn’t continue as normal.
Even though it was an exceptional period in terms of politics, I had the chance to visit the country a little bit. I marveled at the archaeological sites in Byblos, went through the Souk in Tripoli and had a very good lemonade in Batroun while sitting on the Phoenician wall. On many weekends I went hiking and discovered the beautiful landscape in Lebanon – especially walking through Qadisha Valley and seeing nature in all its autumn colors was amazing!By my first walks through Beirut I noticed how peacefully Muslims and Christians live together, both of them being part of the rich history of this country for a long time. Church bells ring and the Muezzin sings and both is perfectly normal to everyone. I realized I hadn’t expected this and more painful, I hadn’t experienced this before.
Mosque and Church neighboring harmonious in the very center of the city. It could be so easy.
I am very grateful for the time I had in Lebanon for many reasons. The TFL Team has a big part in that with being very open; sharing their reflections on Lebanon with me, and – most important – introducing me to the Lebanese cuisine! Thank you very much & “merci kteer”, I head back to Germany with lots of beautiful memories and will keep you in my heart!
The internship was facilitated in cooperation with the German institute ifa (Institut fuer Auslandsbeziehungen).