A Day for Culture

Kitty, Juli, Nancy, Marilyn and Julie at the Nicolas Sarsouk (Modern Art) Museum

Kitty, Juli, Nancy, Marilyn and Julie at the Nicolas Sarsouk (Modern Art) Museum

Julie and Nancy board the cable car to make the steep climb up to Harissa.

Julie and Nancy board the cable car to make the steep climb up to Harissa.

Today was a change of pace for us. Instead of visiting families, churches and ministry partners, we spent the day being culturised (not really a word, but it should be!). We were able to take our bus up to Harissa, a mountaintop shrine of the Maronite Catholic Church, a trip made by a teleferique and a funicular to see a great view of Beirut and a lovely statue of the Virgin Mary. As someone wise said in our cable car over and over again “Beirut is full of good engineers, Beirut is full of good engineers.” An act of faith to be sure. We were also fortunate enough to see an actual cedar of Lebanon. It was almost shocking to see how large Beirut is as it goes on forever. The Mediterranean Sea was lovely and one gets an idea of how people live there.

A bird's eye view of Beirut

A bird's eye view of Beirut

We then headed to a museum housed in a former mansion with modern art produced by Middle Eastern artists. Again, a good way to get a feel for the culture and history of this place. We headed for lunch in a pedestrian only area where Parliament is housed close to a lovely Greek Orthodox church. A very large mosque named for a former Prime Minister is nearby. There were many armed soldiers walking the ground which makes us realize the area is still volatile at times.

We then returned to the hotel and welcomed two more team members, Sara and Sandy. Susan will be arriving later this evening and Lisa will complete our team on Monday. The weather is hot and humid and the traffic is horrid, but we are enjoying learning and exploring how much history is here and how the people here are just like us in many ways.

Clock Tower Square: the heart of old Beirut

Clock Tower Square: the heart of old Beirut

by Juli Bramble
Village Community Presbyterian
Rancho Santa Fe, CA

Elizabeth Carter