Despite all the resentments we hear around in Lebanon and on social media from our people and those who wake up and go to bed -and in between- with their ache of wanting to leave the country, there are many who are seeking Lebanon as a better country of residence than theirs. They are actually willing to start their life from scratch for a piece of Lebanese ground to stand on and settle in. This might surprise you, and even shock you. But here is a story you surely want to know about.
You have certainly heard, for years now, about the longstanding critical situation in Venezuela. What you probably don’t know is that a reverse migration has been occurring, and increasing, with Venezuelans of Lebanese origins seeking Lebanon to call home like their ancestors once did.
It’s in articles like this one that I write with a huge flash of pride in my heart toward my home country Lebanon. A home country to many, even to those who have only heard of Lebanon via their parents’ stories, like Firas Yordi who migrated to Lebanon last year, bringing along his family, for a better and safer life for him and them.
Last year, Firas Yordi packed his bags and his family and moved to Lebanon. leaving his life behind. However, unlike most Venezuelans returning to Lebanon, he didn’t leave Venezuela because of the financial crisis or the unbearable living conditions.
He did because his 4-year-old son was about to be kidnapped outside of his house when Firas rushed to rescue him. Kidnapping for ransom does occur over there, especially when the family is well-off like Firas’.
The unfortunate events led him to take the radical decision of leaving Venezuela and moving to a not so foreign country, Lebanon. He is of Lebanese origins. His father migrated to Venezuela some 50 years ago and did very well for himself and his family with successful businesses.
Not in a million years did Firas think he would ever move to Lebanon, yet he did, becoming one of the many of his compatriots returning to the land of their ancestors.
Upon arriving and throughout his first months, he felt safe and appreciated it, away from the danger he had dealt with. Finding a job wasn’t easy for him though, so he decided to create his own source of income. He opened a Latin restaurant, which he called Tucano, and partnered with another man who has also relocated to Lebanon from Brazil.
You can obviously guess what it makes! Empanadas, arepas, burritos, and anything to do with Latin America cuisine; and gluten-free!
It makes my heart smile warmly that no matter how many years pass, one can always find a way to come back to his origins, and that whatever difficult things could keep turning out in our country, people abroad do see Lebanon as a better place to live, and think to come live among us and settle down. Firas feels he is lucky that he is of Lebanese origins and that he had his parents’ country to come to and call home.