The Beqaa Valley is the spot in Lebanon that takes in the most Syrian refugees, one million of the five million that have escaped from Syria. At the same time, Lebanon continues to recover from more than 15 years of civil war and from the effects of its war against Israel in 2006.
In spite of everything, the generosity of the Lebanese have made it possible for the Syrians to find safe refuge in centers like this one of the Order of Malta.
This hospital, run by the Sisters of Divine Charity of Besançon, offers them free medical assistance. Here, the only requirement is tending to the needs of the human beings they have in front of them.
SR. MARIA JOSEPHA ABOU HAIDAR
Nun from the Charity of Besançon
“The staff we have at this center are composed of Shiites, Sunnis, Druzes and Christians. They all understand one another well. We have seen the improvement, with the population and with the staff we have here. There is a great acceptance. No one lives closed in himself or herself.”
“There isn’t any problem. Muslims and Christians are the same to us. In Syria, we didn’t know what the difference was between a Muslim and a Christian. We only knew that we were children of Adam. We didn’t differentiate between them.”
The hospital, founded in 1992, takes in many Syrian refugees who live in nearby towns. The situation of these people in Lebanon is very uncertain, and places like these are their only hope for receiving decent, sanitary assistance.
“We treat everyone equally, whether rich or poor; Syrian or Lebanese; Muslim or Christian. Everyone equally, and that’s why people like to come here.”
The Order of Malta is a humanitarian power at the service of the weakest and where it is needed most. In Lebanon, the group doesn’t only take care of them, but also goes to them. It does so with this mobile medical unit. Dr. Jammal, a Shiite Muslim, has been working with the Order for 26 years.
“In this institution, we don’t ask the denomination, the color or the ethnicity; we ask about your needs and meet them.”
Lebanese geography is sprinkled with small refugee lands like this one, hosting 2,500 people. In this settlement, the Order of Malta is the only one that lends help to these families that have escaped the war and who are, for the most part, Muslims.
“We don’t have the possibility of going to a center. We don’t have money to go to the doctor or buy medicine. They help us a lot. No one else offers that to us. May God help them because they help us a lot, if it wasn’t for them…”
His wife is 40 years old and his young son doesn’t speak, as a result of the trauma caused by bombs. It’s not only the medicine this service provides which heal the wounds of these victims of war.
“This is mercy: love, compassion and care… it is something good. We didn’t expect this type of care and love.”
While other countries with greater resources are limiting their help or close their doors to these refugees, Lebanon, a small country with a post-war economy, is taking them in and trying to offer them the most acceptable living conditions as possible.