I had been to Lebanon before. In 2005, a close friend with family in Beirut invited me to join him on a visit. I had always wanted to travel to the Middle East and this was a chance to do so in a somewhat controlled environment. After my experience in Greece last year, I wanted to understand how the situation was in places closer to Syria. I was able to get in contact with some of the relationships forged from my first visit back in 2005 to start devising a plan to come back. Over a month and a half of email and text correspondences, I finally had a clear plan in place.
I arrived in Lebanon on a Saturday and met with a friend who had helped me arrange my visit. He connected me to close friends of his who were tied to organizations doing work with some of the displaced people fleeing from Syria. My work in the camp was to start on Monday; my friend decided to take me skiing in the mountains on Sunday. (It is important to note that the only time I was ever really afraid for my life in Lebanon was when my friend or his security were driving. Their speeds and passing techniques would have had any professional race car driver impressed. However, as for me, I was as uncomfortable as I could possibly be sitting in the backseat.) The weather was beautiful the day we drove up into the mountains. It had just snowed so it there was fresh powder and the scenery was incredible. You can literally look down from the mountain onto the coastline and the ocean while skiing--a truly stunning landscape.