Tuesday, March 22, 2005

To Baalbeck...and beyond

So, it finally happened. Yousuf (and I) met Yassine’s family for the first time, as we journeyed to his refugee camp in Baalbeck, deep in the heart of Lebanon’s Beqaa valley. As we arrived, Syrian forces, who controlled the area for more than 29 years, began to depart to the Syrian border, not far from where we were.

As for Yos: suffice to say, you can sure take the boy out of the refugee camp, but you can’t take the refugee camp out of the boy. Yousuf found his flock, and boy did he fly. As the Arabic says goes, “he is a pot that found its cover” (yes, I know, our sayings are profound). It wasn’t long before baby incredible was waddling his way around Wavel’s (the camps official name) winding alleways, making friends with everyone (i.e. the butcher, the baker, and the internet café owner-and yes, there are internet café’s in refugee camps-illegal, but that's another story), and getting to know his new (and many I might add) aunts, uncles, and cousins.

And of course, one of the highlights of our still-nascent trip: Yousuf finally got his hair cut!! It involved lots of tears (and an equal amount of hair-boy are those billowy curls deceiving) but the results were well worth it-I found my little boy again!


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