Stories from Afar & Up Close

Marriage proposal (type 2)

I’m seated third row in a mini-van to Sour (Tyr), on my way to work in South Lebanon. Behind me a veiled grandmother with what could be her daughter or granddaughter, a girl in her twenties; behind them another young woman, also veiled. I hear the girl on the last row ask the old woman if she knows how to get from the last bus-stop to the NGO I work for (which is very well-known and enjoys a huge support among the mainly Shi’ite inhabitants of the region). I turn around and say in my best Arabic: - "I know how to get there, I have to go there too." The grandmother turns to me, with prying eyes: - “What are you going to do there?” - “I work there.” - “Oooohh! You work there?!? What do you do?” - “I make their website and take pictures of the projects." She claps her hands excitedly, for a while all we do is smiling at each other. Then she asks me: - “Are you married?” - “Yes, I am.” She seems a little disappointed, but then cheers up. - “Oh. It doesn’t matter! Do you want to marry my son?” The granddaughter shakes her head, points at her grandmother and says in English: - “She’s funny.”