At the Beirut Port explosion, volunteers took to the streets to clean the debris, help restore homes, and care for those who needed support – with little to no help from the Lebanese government.
Green Environment Movement (GEM) volunteer, Mark Darido, was one of many people on the ground helping with disaster relief in Beirut. During his work, he met an old man named Samir.
Mark would never have imagined on that day that he and his family would create such a strong and wholesome bond with Samir, but that is exactly what happened.
Samir lived all alone and he and his home were not in good condition. According to Mark, Samir’s house was affected by the blast and he had many health problems.
“I don’t have anyone. If I die, no one would notice,” Samir told Mark, whose heart shattered upon hearing those words.
“With the help of many, we managed to fix his house and get him all the necessary things to make it suitable for living,” Mark said, adding that Samir’s health issues are currently being treated.
Samir was also generously provided with a phone he can use when he is in need. Mark said that he looks forward to Samir’s calls because of how funny the man is.
In the most unexpected way, Samir and Mark developed and maintained a beautiful friendship. Samir, who felt like he had no one, now proudly calls Mark his grandson. He has even made friends with Mark’s uncle.
“He’s part of our family now and loved by many! Changing someone’s life in this sad and unfair world is something to be happy about. No more ‘ma 3nde hada‘ (I have no one),” Mark wrote in a tweet.
Samir has gone from someone who thought no one would notice if he died to someone who receives unconditional love and support from the community. In fact, Mark told The961 that every Tuesday, a local church provides Samir with cooked food.
Individual efforts like these have changed and saved numerous lives after the Beirut blast. They are remarkable testimonies that what propelled the Lebanese people to run to the blasted city was not their eagerness to save Beirut and its stones but its beating heart; the people.
Humanity at its best was and has been the badge of honor of these Lebanese volunteers all through. That is what makes Lebanon worth saving. That is why Lebanon will never die.
Because, there, among the chaos and the misery, the despair and the struggles, there are people who care unconditionally for their fellow humans. Mark and his family are one of these fine examples.