A STORY TO TELL / حكاية لتروى

Reem Al Mohtar

We are not passengers in the city of sun- Faro, but we are not residents in the lights of its streets, we came here for one experience of life, and it turned up to be THE life experience, one of those that opens new doors to discover fascinating secrets behind it.

We are not passengers because those only see the whole image of the painting, but they don’t get the chance to draw its details in their imagination. This magic city have a lot to tell, and different stories to create in it. At the end, it is all about the details, eventually it is what forms our lives; and the details of this city are so magnificent, artistic and charming.

Reem Al Mohtar

If this city meant to be a well-known character, it would have been a mix of Marilyn Monroe with her fascinating beauty, Charlie Chaplin with his unique composition of joy and smart, Voltaire with his sense of revolution and the history he holds, and Ziad El Rahbani with his music and rhythm.

Faro is a piece of art.. This place allows you to experiment the meaning of belonging and holds your dreams to the wild… Here, time passes in a hurry, you try hard to catch the moments, but it slips away gently with happiness and grief.

In Faro, you will always have a story to Tell.

Reem Al Mohtar Reem Al Mohtar

 

 

نحن لسنا زواراً في مدينة الشمس- فارو، ولسنا بمقيمين في أضواء شوارعها. أتينا هنا لنخوض أحد تجارب الحياة، وتبين أنها تجربة حياة بأكملها، تلك التي تفتح لك أبواب لتكتشف اسرار مذهلة خلفها.

نحنا لسنا زواراً لأن هؤلاء يرون اللوحة كاملتاً، لا يتسنى لهم الخوض في تفاصيلها الدقيقة. هذه المدينة الساحرة لديها الكثير لتقوله وقصص كثيرة لترويها. في النهاية، كل شيء متعلق في التفاصيل، فهي ما يكون حياتنا… وتفاصيل هذه المدينة ساحرة.

Reem Al Mohtar Reem Al Mohtar

لو هذه المدينة قدّر لها ان تكون شخصية معروفة، كانت لتكون مزيج من مارلين مانرو بجمالها الساحر، شارلي شابلن بتكوينه المميز من الفرح والذكاء، فولتير بحس الثورة لديه والتاريخ الذي يحمله بين يديه، وزياد الرحباني بموسيقاه وانغامه.

Reem Al Mohtar

فارو هي بالفعل قطعة فنية… هذه المدينة تسمح لك إختبار شعور الإنتماء وتحمل أحلامك الى البعيد… هنا، الوقت يمر مسرعاً، تحاول جاهداً أن تمسك بلحظاته لكنها تهرب بعيداً بهدوء مع قليل من الفرح وقليل من الحزن.

Reem Al Mohtar

في فارو.. ستجد دائماً حكاية لترويها…

Reem Al Mohtar

First time in Jordan

With only a couple of days behind my first trip to Jordan, the memories still linger fresh. Was it yesterday that I was heaving trying to climb the rocky canyon of Petra endeavouring to get the Monastery before the noon sun completely exhausted me or was it last week? When will the desert sand finally get out of my shoes? And finally when will I be able to eat again that delicious Mansaf we all tasted in that isolated Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum?

George Orfanos

But let’s take it from the top. Leaving behind us the ordeal of passing through the Israeli-Jordanian borders, we were quickly taken aback by the sudden change of scenery. Even though a few dozens of meters separated us from the other side, even the texture of the sand was different. After departing the terminal finally people seemed more relaxed and helpful. The taxi trip to the Dead Sea resort gave us enough time to clear our mind and appreciate the new view. As long as we travelled parallel to the Jordan River banana farms gave their way to pineapple farms, then finally to desert again as we reached the big salty lake. What took us most by surprise was the absolute absence of anything else than hotels and resorts succeeding each other. Not even one residence was near. Even the road itself was named “Hotel Street”. And then the gates of the resort we were supposed to stay appeared before us. A luxurious, albeit segregated, castle stood between the desert and the Dead Sea. For the next 4 days that we spent there for the meeting all outside world seemed so detached, like everything else stopped existing. 5-star hotel services and audacious luxuries can make even the sternest believers of modesty falter, losing their sway to the sirens’ call.

George Orfanos

Of course these feelings dissipated as soon as we boarded the bus for the next part of our trip – the actual Jordanian trip. Passing through the countryside instilled in all of us a feeling of faint guilt. All those days we’ve spent comfortably numb in pretentious pampering in a manmade oasis hit us like a brick. This was the real Jordan, a country ravaged by almost constant drought; with most of its population desperately try to save water, while the rich stay locked away in their ivory towers ludicrously spending gallon after gallon simply because they can afford it. Amidst being lost in my thoughts, the driver stumbled upon a most rewarding sight; a tiny cafe with no more than 6 chairs stood defiantly on the very peak. Although, we had been travelling for at least 3 hours through the winding mountain paths, just sitting on those chairs you could clearly see the Dead Sea and if not for the distant sandstorm I bet we would be able all the way to Israel.

George Orfanos

First stop was the mystifying Petra. As soon as we arrived in the hostel late in the evening, everybody was anxious to leave for the canyon. “Petra by night” proved a terrific experience, as much as it was advertised and perhaps even more. Just walking through the narrow lantern-filled path between the cliffs with nothing but the moon lighting your way, could be easily described as bewildering. The eerie and otherworldly silence beckoned us to travel further inside to explore. When we reached the Treasury, another pleasant revealed itself; live tradition music. For the next half an hour all of us were enthralled by the captivating melodies of the Oud, while sitting before the imposing carved out stone building, quietly sipping our tea. The next morning we visited Petra again, this time with the morning light. Personally I was totally mesmerized by the ingenuity process behind the whole rock city. What goaded the very first visionary to carve whole buildings in stone? When everybody was just seeing a cliff side, how could he conceive of palace or a tomb?

George Orfanos

Our next sojourn was in Wadi Rum. In the middle of the Jordanian desert tiny Bedouin tents stood out, while being completely camouflaged in their surroundings in perfect harmony. For the first time in my life I could just take my shoes off and walk around bare-footed enjoying it, for even in the inside of the tents was the floor covered in soft sand. The lunar landscape proved captivating beyond measure, inviting us to sleep outside under the starry sky gazing the Milky Way for hours on end. Everything looked like a painting, or for the science fiction buffs like myself like it was a scenery drop from Dune (I could almost hear the thumpers calling out the huge sandworms!). The next morning we took several Jeeps and headed out into the heart of the desert. Vistas of splendor filled our vision and the austere grandeur of the mountain scenery would be etched into our minds.

George Orfanos

With all of this now behind us, one cannot help but feel a sense of ennui. Once you touch the primal, the infinite and the all-encompassing call of the desert, any concrete filled city pales in comparison.

George Orfanos
TG2 Greek Ca.Bu.Re.Ra participant in Palestine

Challenges with CaBuReRa: Zahraa’s experience

Challenges with CaBuReRa: Zahraa’s experience

caburera_palermo_ZaharaaI am Zahraa Nemer from Lebanon, specifically from Bekaa Valley. I was born and I have always lived in Baalbeck city. I am an archaeologist and restoration expert, currently at Lebanese university going to begin my doctor post graduate session. My hobbies include reading and creative writting. My aim in life is to make a difference, with whatever  I get to do, and continue to live in the thoughts of the people I love even after this life fades away. I hate to see people being selfish and living their lives as if they are gonna go on forever. Sometimes I would say to these people: “remember you got a package here, make the most of it and give more than you take. Have a happy life”.

About two months ago I had a life changing experience with CaBuReRa Project to promote my intercultural, and interactive skills having a new experience in project management cycle and a new opportunity to go abroad other wise adding a new exciting Italian language. So I moved to a little city called Palermo, located in Sicily, a big island in the South of Italy.

It was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Being in the presence of such beauty helped me see life from a different perspective. I was just going to be happy, appreciate what I have, be open-minded, not take anything for granted, and love everyone and everything.

The experience of CaBuReRa  Youth project was incredible. It has had an enormous impact on me in many ways, changing the way I look at the world and connecting me with people and events far beyond my formerly limited experience. I am extremely glad to have had this opportunity. It was a wonderful experience on multiple levels. It challenged me and expanded me intellectually and socially. I feel that this experience has had an immense impact on me. Through this program I had first-hand access to some of the brightest young minds in both the European countries and the world.

Now that I am at the end of my destination period I want to thank all people I met for all the efforts they gave to me; I want also to thank everyone who have taught me in CaBuReRa project. The knowledge and wisdom you have imparted upon me has been a great help and support throughout my career. I believe my success is at least in part due to your sincere support and mentorship.

Let me express my deepest gratitude for believing in me. You have been excellent friends, teachers, mentors and a great inspiration for me. You have inspired me to pursue my goals with hard work and dedication. You have shown me the value of honesty, sincerity and trust in work.

I truly appreciate and value everything I have learned from you. It will forever remain a major contributor behind my success and achievements. I really look forward to the day I can do the same for someone else and never forget you.

Thank you, once again, for your time, support and patience.

Thessaloniki … European Capital of Culture and Youth

Thessaloniki … European Capital of Culture and Youth

Thessaloniki is considered to be the second biggest city in Greece and it is the capital of Macedonia Region, and considered as the city of youth because it has two famous and big universities (Aristotelous and Macedonia). Also, you can notice the multi-cultural sipic1tes that have the roots of Byzantine, Ottoman and Greek periods.

Our Thessalonikian experience started with the crowded busy train that we took to reach this amazing city. However, all tickets were sold out we booked tickets with no seats just to have the chance to visit this city.

 

The first day started with a delicious Greek breakfast specifically with a pastry called ‘Boughatsa’ then we had the chance to visit the ‘White Tower’ that consists of four floors full of history about the periods of Thessaloniki, the roof has the best view of the city and the sea. We continued our day with a nice walk on the reconstructed waterfront path. One of the well noticed views in the city is the beautiful squares such as ‘Aristotelis and Alexander the Great squares’, and the parallel streets which allows you to see the important touristic and historic sites one after the other.

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The second day we had a round in the students assembling points like the Bit Bazar which is an area full of cafés and restaurants especially for students. Then we paid a visit to top of a tall hill overlooking the city that has the kastro (castle) whose walls surround the inner citapic4del of  ‘Eptapyrgio’, fortunately we saw a Greek guy with his Bouzouki and one guy of our group asked him if he can use his bouzouki, and he played some Arabic music on a Greek instrument on the Edge of the castle which helped us to complete the story of multi-cultural experience,  we ended that day with a rest in a Krete specialised restaurant, finally the good news was that we had a good comfortable trip back to Athens with plenty of seats.

 

Moreover, near Thessaloniki you can find the heaven on earth … ‘Chalkidiki’ has the best beaches in Greece, crystal clear water, and breath taking views, on the map it looks like the devils fork, so it has three legs as what they call it, every leg has its speciality, at the first leg to the west side you can find the best night life, and the youth style places, the second has the relaxing mood and the family type places, and the third has its own boarders, it contains a big number of monasteries and they are self-authorised by the Greek Orthodox church. Thessalonikians are highly proud of having this area, that they also have a very familiar joke, about a Thessalonikian man that had passed away, and he went to heaven, so one of the angles took him for a tour to show him the special places in heaven with the good views, and after that they were done from the tour he asked him ‘do you like those places? Aren’t they amazing? The man said ‘Mmmm … yes for sure I liked them, they are amazing, but there is nothing as amazing as Chalkidiki.

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At the end there is a saying to express the warmness of Thessaloniki and its people, which were said by ‘Nikiforos Choumnos who was a Byzantine scholar and official of the early Palaiologan period, which says: ‘κανείς δε μένει χωρίς πατρίδα όσο θα υπάρχει η Θεσσαλονίκη’’ which means no one is left without a homeland as long as Thessaloniki exists

 

BY:

Ahmed, Haya, Ibrahim and Nahar

TG2 participants in Greece

 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Sometimes the most beautiful things are the hardest to describe. There is something about Palermo, or I would have called it “The city of Love and Tenderness”, that separates you from the rest of the world to reflect, act, learn and have fun. “Buongiorno signorina, Benvenuti in Italia”, the hostess said. At that relieving moment I knew that my journey towards the thousand miles will begin with this step.

caburera_palermo_Muna res

My internship experience in Palermo is an opportunity that I will forever be grateful for and is the time that I cherish most from my work experience thus far. During the first two months in Palermo, I was immersed in a culture that is very different than my own which allowed me to open up and expand my formerly limited world view. It exposed me to challenging moments and a plethora of adventures which led me to become a more confident person and thinker, and opened up an infinite amount of opportunities for me to grow as an individual.

As a Palestinian living under the Israeli occupation, where Palestinians have to bargain to gain their simplest human rights and living resources, I had the eager to use this mobility to help me help other disprivileged immigrants in Palermo. Luckily, I was able to work in three different precious organizations: HRYO (Human Rights Youth Organization), Santa Chiara (Kindergarden for Immigrant kids) and Cesie (the host organization, to help Youth).

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Moreover, throughout the years I have travelled to many different countries in Europe. However, I never found this support for the Palestinian case as I found among the people here in Palermo; I was thrilled with the recognition and the eligibility of the land to the Palestinian among the Italians in general which made me even in love with this country as a whole package. In Palermo, you are accepted the way you are whatever was your religion, color, political point of view or even the football team you support. There, you are free to express your ideas, political views or religion the way you want without judging.

I am eternally grateful for the time to thoroughly explore and discover so much about what it means to appreciate a world different than what I am used to and interact with people that gave me a positively dynamic perspective on life. While the memories will always be with me, with the passing of time, some of those vivid details that I hold so close to my heart may fade. However, when I look at the hundreds of pictures that I took in Palermo; when I gaze fondly at those huge smiles, bright, shining faces, and dazzling eyes, the old building, the amazing churches, the “arancina”, the “brioscia”, the beautiful sea and mostly the loving people I will remember that forever.

Even though my abroad experience has come and almost done, my outlook and approach to life today is greatly influenced by my time in Palermo and I know that one day I will return to the “City of Love” again.

γεια σας! – Greetings From Greece: A Jordanian Girl’s Experience

Living in a foreign country makes you establish unusual friendships. Due to my terrible sense of direction; it took me a month to manage to get to the bus station, which is 10 minutes walking from home, so the GPS and Google Maps became my true best friends through my stay in Greece.

In Greece, nature is accessible for everybody to enjoy!
In Greece, nature is accessible for everybody to enjoy!

What I loved about the Greek culture is that people are really friendly, helpful and extremely chillaxed, and you see the cafés ballooned with people all day long. Also, I cannot portray how delicious the food is ; which resulted in getting addicted to gyros.

I didn’t like the fact that the shops and supermarkets close very early compared to Jordan, besides everything is completely closed on Sundays!

 

Everywhere you go, you literally feel the rich historic and cultural heritage of Greece , it has many notable places and museums to visit , in addition to the various choices for spending the night out , but what I really appreciated here is that the nature is accessible for everybody to enjoy!  and there are many activities to be done without you having to check your wallet, for example going for a run around the marina, going to the beach to enjoy the sun and the water anytime you wish, or simply to sit somewhere with a good view ,which you can find easily in Greece to watch the marvellous sun set.

 

We managed to make normal friendships as well with the people in the places we frequently go to which made us feel more welcome and attached to Greece.

 

What I really want to say is that ,living in Athens for three months will definitely hold a special place in my heart.

Cyrine Hamarneh

OUR Palestinian day

With tears, hugs, compassion, appreciation we ended the great day, after 2 days of working and running around trying to make everything look perfect, this day exceeded every expectation we had.

It all started when our manager asked us to plan a day for Palestine, a day in which we will present our country to the employees and clients of MAPS, so at first I thought, well, okay this is going to be easy, we will do a small presentation, prepare some food, and we will show them the traditional dance of Palestine. But then we had to “face the music”, because this wasn’t easy at all, we had to prepare everything from scratch, we had to think of every little detail because we wanted to succeed , this was a huge responsibility that we were given, in order to share our reality, our occupation, our history and our heritage and everything. We had to be the ambassadors of our Palestine and send the message and the awareness to our audience.

So this is how we started, First of all, the history of Palestine since the early times until our recent was covered including the occupation of course, and how we got where we are today, and apparently it was shocking to most of them since all they ever know about Palestine is from the mainstreamed media and Propaganda so this rose a lot of questions.

Then circles were made, with a background music playing and everyone was cheering and moving around trying to learn the “Dabka” in the Palestinian way of course.

In addition, to the highlight of the day, “The Food” it started with the manaqeesh as breakfast with tea and sage, then the bomb of the day was the upside chicken “Makloobe”, it was a very challenging part of the day but thank God it was a success and everyone loved it, and now we need to go back to Palestine and open a restaurant for Olivia since she was the amazing Chef of the day.

At the end, I wish there would be ever enough words to describe this amazing day and how it ended and how much it affected me, Wissam and Olivia, and everyone that was there, and the words of the manager and the director of MAPS and the way that the described their experiences and visit to Palestine was very emotional and made us cry. In addition to everyone’s compassion that made us feel how important and emotional was this day for everyone, and we could never be thankful enough or prouder of this opportunity and this day.

LEBANON: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

It was the end of March when Daniel came to me with some news about a new European Project called CaBuReRa. We were having lunch at “Habib’s Donner Kebab” (what a coincidence) and, as he was talking, I could already feel the adrenaline rush, starting to build up… Overwhelmed, with positive and negative feelings – should I stay or should I go?! – we finally decided to have a meeting at Anje and ask for all the details and what did we need to do to sign up.

 

After this meeting the feeling was kind of numbness – too much information and, at the same time, the feeling of craziness – none of us had ever studied or worked abroad, not even out of our small city so this was REALLY going out of the comfort zone. This was one of the major reasons why we wanted to do this: we felt stagnated, we needed something in our lives to really feel alive and this could be a golden opportunity to grow in a personal and professional level, hopping that it could open some doors in the future.

 

And so we decided to go…

 

Our parents were in panic as some of our friends, saying that this was so dangerous, this was not a safe country, that we should stay, and so on…

The information mass media delivers can definitely get you feeling disturbed and scared, most importantly, miss informed. The picture in our minds about the Middle East, sold by the Media, is of people with big beards, scarves on their heads, women in their burka and war/destruction everywhere. I did not even bring any shorts because I thought it would be disrespectful…

Guess What? When we arrived we thought we were in America or something… Women are dressed in such a fancy way – high heels, short dresses, long nails and hair, always full of makeup and men (women too) proudly show off their cars (Mustang, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, Camaro…). Everywhere we look there’s an American restaurant or coffee – Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, KFC, Domino’s, etc…

The feeling we got was that for many of the Lebanese people (we live in Beirut so we are using it as the example) is better to look than to be, people want to be closer to the west!

 

We came here expecting to see and live the traditions of the Middle East but in Beirut it’s very difficult to find that, only if we get out of the big centres, if we meet someone that shows us the right people, we can get to see the real Lebanon and its traditions.

 

Besides all of this, Lebanon is amazingly beautiful and has so much to offer! That was, really, a very pleasant surprise.  We came here without doing any research  about the country, we came to discover it, so when we saw that it had so many green, mountains, rivers and beautiful places to see, we were really amazed! Once again, our idea of the Middle East was that it’s mainly a desert and camels everywhere…

The experience of meeting new people (not just the locals, but also our housemates) was amazing. People are extremely kind and giving, always wanting to help, even when they don’t speak the same language, we can always communicate. We found out that when you want, you can communicate with everyone, everywhere and about everything. We had a lot of funny situations where none of the players spoke each other’s language, and somehow we manage to understand each other using body language. That shows a lot about the character of a people!  But that’s another story…

Confessions

Barcelona 13th of July, 2015.

Roaming the city visiting shops trying to buy something very special, something that will make up for my absence in the past 2 months.

I have lived away from my home country for 17 years, I was even born away but never felt homesick because to me home is where your family lives.

Today is my brothers’ birthday. The two that are closest to my heart the most and I would literally give my eyes to. The two that have always treated me and protected me like I was their little baby princess. I have always been bothered by that because it was kind of hard to live independently when you always have someone looking after you and keeping an eye on you and making sure you are happy, safe and in good health.

I couldn’t just pick up the phone and say: Yaaay Happy Birthday!!

Sarah Qabbani

The past two months were cold enough because I was too busy experiencing a new life.
Nothing at the shops was special enough for this occasion, so I started brainstorming ideas with my friends on how to wish my brothers a happy birthday and a great year when we haven’t been speaking much lately.

Compromises… That’s what you come to deal with when you choose to live away from home, family and friends. This is the first Ramadan I spend without my family and this Eid is going to be my first Eid away from home.

This experience is totally worth the selfish decision that I have made, but nothing beats a family gathering over a cup of tea and a warm talk.

Sarah Qabbani

Beirut

Beirut

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They called it “the Paris of the Middle East”. They keep on dreaming of those days, when tourist flown and banks were flourishing. Nowadays Beirut is a completely different city, it’s growing up without knowing what would be made of its future. New buildings are raising everywhere and advertising on their construction sites show busy businessmen and happy families. Soldiers watch out the streets where the traffic jam melt brand new luxury cars and old fashioned taxis. Traditional mana’ish stores are back to back with western fast food chains.

Beirut is a city carved out of its contradictions. That is its backbone, its whole history. You can either like them or not, and sometimes even its citizens don’t stand them anymore. From time to time hatred blows. When you see people walking by the roads sometimes you find yourself wondering that most likely a good amount of them were actually shooting each other not too much time ago. As somebody told me, “they had to be involved, they had to take a side”. This is especially true referring to the civil war.

While people, understandably, avoid the argument or just recall how the nightlife was still ongoing after sunset, its scars are still visible today. Few iconic buildings, like some hotels, churches or the municipal hall, are left completely tore apart, as modern monuments from a past-not-so-past ago. But bullet’s holes would suddenly appear after each corner in most of the city, immediately unveiling the true range of the conflict.

Beirut is the sum of it’s neighborhoods, not the other way around. Or more likely, it’s exactly this what makes Beirut Beirut. By walking on a straight line you could feel going from a noisy Arab shari’a to a delicate French rue, and then back to the scented Armenian neighborhood and eventually to the luxury Manhattan-like downtown and its skyscrapers. At a certain moment in the evening, walking down by what was used to be known as the Green Line (the former line of demarcation between the Muslim western part of the city and the Christian eastern one), you can clearly hear the melodious voice of the muezzin coming from one side, challenged by the church bells tolling at the other.

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Even its inhabitants seem to suggest a certain amount of chaos guiding the whole city: while everybody might entirely fulfill its needs and, thus, be fitted in this abstract drawing, Beirut itself appears not to belong to anybody. Who could rightly claim to be its core? Would that be the wealthy upper class or the overwhelming not-so-wealthy suburbs’ inhabitants? Are the thousands of expats settled here from generations now, or the newly comer Syrian refugees whose number, after a rough esteem, raise up to a million? Not to mention Bengali and Sudanese that do the humblest jobs. And without mentioning also Palestinians, which are isolated and almost forgotten in the sadly notorious Shatila refugee camp, near the borders of the city.

I could tell about the ridiculous amount of NGOs and international institutions established here, each one with its purpose and values and small field of work. I could tell about the hour-long blackouts that define the time flowing as well as the slow moving of clouds in the sky do. I didn’t say a word about the terrific food (“writing about food is like dancing about architecture” would be my justification). You might feel as if dozen of things are missing and, probably, you will be right. But there is a reason for this: you have to come and unfold Beirut by yourself.

Distrust who claims to know Beirut flawlessly because it’s in the spirit of the city itself not to be understood, not to be the same the moment after, not to be mastered. Are the streets themselves that tell you this story: you’ll see how each of them has its own name, but nobody ever recall what it is.

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Dario Modugno

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