It’s about a two-hour drive over a mountain to get from Beirut to the Bekaa Valley. During the time that I last visited, the roads were always busy, but this time we were contending with winter conditions. There is only one main road from Beirut and it takes you over the mountain. This makes for a lot of sketchy driving techniques while passing slower drivers.

We left the city early enough to make it into the first camp in the Bekaa just after noon. The first facility we visited was a medical shelter at Bar Elias, the first “official” camp that we stopped at. All together there are only three medical facilities for all 40 camps. Most of the people inside the camps are treated by either mobile clinics or local Lebanese hospitals if a patient is able to afford to go there.

We met with the head doctor inside of the Bar Elias camp. He was also Lebanese but allowed Syrian doctors, as well as medical professionals from other foreign countries, to work treating those in need under his license. In Lebanon, you can only legally practice medicine if you have a Lebanese medical license. You may have doctors and nurses from outside of Lebanon work as a part of your license but they can not set up shop on their own--more bureaucracy tied to the politics of the country.