Stories from Afar & Up Close

Cup of coffee... I hope you are hungry.

In Lebanon you will never die from a lack of food. All you have to do is visit a colleague who is staying home after she had surgery on her nose. Or your neighbor. Or your friend’s parents that you haven’t seen in 2 weeks. Or anyone you ask for directions on the street. Hello! Welcome, welcome! What a surprise to see you! - Thank you, thank you, so good to see you too, are you feeling any better yet? Oh, it’s ok, come in, come in! Sorry for the cold, there is no electricity so please keep your coat on. Have a seat, please, have seat! Would you like to drink anything? Coffee, tea, nescafé? - No thank you, I’m fine. Here, we brought you some sweets from Saida. Thank you! So nice of you. So what would you like to drink, coffee, tea? - Nothing, really, thank you, we just had lunch. Nothing? Come one, a cup of nescafé? Some juice? - I’ll have a glass of water then, thank you. Maryam, bring our guests a glass of water please. [the daughter comes in with tall glasses full of juice] Here you go, a glass of orange juice. Would you like some of our sweets? Or here, take some nuts! - Thank you, that’s very kind, but I just ate, I’m really full. That’s ok, just take some of our dessert, it’s homemade, see, cream with nuts on top! Here you go, have some. [serves a big portion on a plate] Oh and have you ever tried these cookies? They are typical for this region, made with dates and sugar. - I will try one, thank you, but really I am not hungry at all as I just had lunch… Ah yes, true. Well, this is good for dessert, I bet you have never tried it before, they are chocolates with nuts that we serve when someone gets engaged. Our nephew got engaged last weekend so we have a whole basket of them, would you like to take some with you? Here, take a handful for the road. Oh, you finished your juice! Maryam, please bring our guests some more juice. - I am sorry, thank you, but I am not thirsty, just a glass of water would be very nice. Alright, a glass of water it is. [comes back with a tray with coffee and tea] Here, have a coffee. You don’t drink coffee? You would prefer nescafé? No nescafé? Ok tea then, here you go, with a few spoons of sugar – I will only put two spoons, I know you foreigners don’t like sweet tea that much. So how are you?