Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I Trust My Chickens

Nadwa Dandash, 45, lives with her old mother at a humble house in Bdita, one of the impoverished neighborhoods in Hermel.

When the Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training (LOST) first visited her house to introduce its new project on generating additional income to Lebanese families affected by the increasing influx of Syrian refugees and ensuring work opportunity and capacity building for women in rural areas, Nadwa showed great interest in joining in.

While the coordinator was explaining that LOST will be distributing 6000 chickens on 200 families and train them on how to raise chicken in coop , Nadwa was directly exercising her own spatial skills and doing her own calculations, “ I will allocate that corner for my chickens”, she joyfully said. 

A week later, it was chicken delivery date; the same coordinator showed up to hand Nadwa her share, 30 chickens of an excellent breed. She had already prepared the coop and her generosity was received very well by her chickens; they started to lay eggs in their first day in the new habitat as if they were paying her back for her hospitality.  

Nadwa took full advantage of the numerous workshops and field visits LOST organized to promote marketing skills. She eventually convinced Toni Shamas, the owner of a mini market in Hermel to purchase her harvest on a daily basis. The necessary guidance offered paid off and the bargain sealed. She gives him eggs and in return he offers all the household needs which she couldn’t have afforded previously.

Three months later, a strange thing happened. Nadwa was heading towards the mini market as usual to trade the eggs for some fruits and vegetables when she saw a young boy heading to his nearby public school and grappling to put his books in the torn backpack. She was touched by the incident and gently asked the boy to escort her to the mini market. With a very confident and proud tone, she asked the owner to exchange the pile of eggs for a new suitcase for the little boy. Lying by the counter, Mr. Shamas obligingly went to the suitcase section to get the suitcase. Then he heard her say, “Please choose the best one, the one with a superman on the back”. She then looked at the boy and they exchanged a strange but surely a heavenly look. The boy grabbed the backpack, directly staffed his books in, and speechlessly kissed Nadwa before he ran to school.

Then a flood of questions started falling on her. A relative said, “How would you ensure your livelihood for this week?” The owner of the market exclaimed, “Don’t you need the money more to provide for your sick mother?” Her calm and assured reply shocked them all. “No worries, I trust my chickens and if God permits, I will buy this boy all books and stationery next year. The chickens so far haven’t failed her, and, she believes, they won’t. 

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