Sunday, September 13, 2009

EcoVillage People

5 September 2009 - Dmit Valley, Chouf Mountains, Lebanon

On Saturday morning I threw a change of clothes and a toothbrush into my backpack and headed to Starbucks in Achrafieh to meet Chaz for a road trip. I was surprised to learn we were going camping. For once in my life [bxA] I was under-packed. I had no swimsuit, no mosquito repellent, no warm clothing, no hiking shoes, nothing. And you’ll never believe this: I survived.

Chaz’s friend is a cool French Girl who works for an NGO involving torture victims. The EcoVillage excursion was arranged by an American-Lebanese Actor Girl who recently produced a non-profit play for children that toured Lebanon all summer. Two cute boys brought guitars and sang – at least one of them was an actor in the Actor Girl’s play. There were three girls from Bristol, UK who arrived in Lebanon days ago to do a medical school internship at a Beirut hospital. The girls were all young, smart, beautiful and cool…made me think our future is in good hands.

A young Lebanon-born Palestinian guy drove Chaz and me into the mountains, indulging us frank and funny conversation about religion and culture. He lives with his parents but refuses to conform, smoking hash in his bedroom and expecting to someday have a girl in his room, “khalas, let me be.” Chaz would interject from time to time to ask things like, “How do you say ‘crap’ in Arabic? How do you say ‘mumbo jumbo’ in Arabic? What does ‘jihad’ mean?” The Palestinian guy told us that ‘jihad’ is a response in a divine form, and "sometimes violence is necessary for freedom…or to fight back…. they’re using religion for political means. And of course that’s bullshit.” At this point Chaz already knew how to say ‘bullshit’ in Arabic. Our driver spoke well of Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed while never missing the humanity of the prophets, “there was nothing holy about Mohammed. He killed people, he fucked, he shit, he had emotions just like everybody else.”

After a little confusion, a lot of stops and a minor car accident, our caravan arrived at EcoVillage late afternoon. The nine of us piled into the back of a small pick-up truck and held on for dear life during the speedy and windy drive to the main site (someone videotaped the ride - I'll try to post it) . We settled into our tents, ate dinner, opened the wine and played games.

We had some Pictionary culture clashes, like when I illustrated a “loose tooth” and my British teammate guessed “wobbly tooth.” Eventually we ended up around a campfire with the rest of the EcoVillagers, which was mostly a bunch of environmentalist NGO people. Our guys played their guitars. French NGO Girl has a beautiful voice and sang some Cranberries’ songs including ‘Zombie’ – which brought back my favorite memories of the teenage metal band in the Maldives that played mostly Metallica but also loved to play ‘Zombie.’

What’s in your head? In your head? Zombie. Zombie. Zombie

Link to my EcoVillage Photos on Picasa