On 4 August 2020, an explosion sent a mushroom cloud into the air over Beirut, killing more than 200 people, injuring thousands and causing devastation across the city. Yasmine, a Girl Guide in Lebanon, lives in Beirut and was frontline to the explosion.
Saturday, August 8th, 2020
After 4 August 2020, the only way to move was forward. We had reached rock bottom, and so now, we could only go up.
After days of trying to make sense of what had happened on Tuesday, I finally decided to go down on the streets and help out. The streets of Beirut that stood on the frontline of the explosion, those streets that once were the beating heart of Beirut, became nothing but rubble and shattered glass and dreams, nothing familiar about them anymore, all perished on the ground.
The Lebanese government had not yet sent any help down on the field to help clean up and rebuild. It was up to us, Lebanon’s Youth, to do that. The only hope we had left at that point was in each other.
The streets were filled with basecamps of NGOs and Groups of Scouts and Guides, handing out food, water, and cleaning supplies and instructions to go through with the missions. Everywhere you look, you would find teams of Scouts and Guides, coming from the North and from the South of Lebanon, helping out in the cleaning, reaching out to those in need, and handing out food boxes and supplies.
In the basecamp where I am now spending most of my days, you may find different stations to volunteer in which consist of: preparing hot food meals, packing food boxes with primary items (oil, rice, beans, non perishable food...), packing house supplies (soap, toilet paper, baby formulas, diapers, pads...), first aid unit to help out any mild injuries, supplies for cleaning up the area (if you don’t have a broom or a shovel and you wish to go clean demolished houses, they lend you the supplies needed and tell you which areas need help most), and finally a safe space to all those seeking psychological help and are having a difficulty dealing with the tragic event that occurred a few days back.
You would see Guides arriving from all over Lebanon in huge number, working together in groups with a great sense of patriotism and belonging to our beloved Beirut, regardless of the anticipated hours working in the burning sun and the scorching heat.
And so I, a fellow Guide from Lebanon, call out every Guide around the world to #PrayForLebanon and support us. Beirut is the capital of love, always vibrant with endless tunes and loud laughs, it is not a city of war and bombs.
We must all unite together in these times of hardship.
Warm salute to every person who has survived this and is still coming through for their country. YOU are a national HERO.
Words by Yasmine Berjaoui.
About the author
Yasmine Berjaoui is a Girl Guide from Lebanon, based in Beirut.