Day 18 & 19 – We’ve finally had a chance to perform outdoors on Manara seaside next to American University of Beirut! The municipality of Beirut was very friendly to us and gave their permission to perform in this crowded place, where a lot of tourists and Lebanese people spend their Sunday evenings. In fact, we had to go to the municipality 4 times to get this permission, but eventually they gave it to us as an exception, saying that normally they don’t allow such performances.
We had a very good sound system so we could be heard very well and right after we started playing we were surrounded by 150 people who were clapping, screaming and dancing with the songs. After 2 songs we presented our NGO and showed a short meditation exercise which all the people enjoyed. A volunteer from the crowd helped us with the language translating everything into Arabic. We were performing in this manner for around 4 hours with little breaks, and people were coming and going so in the end approx. 800 people experienced meditation for the first time! We invited all of them to local meditation classes, as many showed their interest and wanted to know more. We were absolutely happy and exhausted after this amazing program, and a footsoak in the sea concluded the day.
Our 19th day was really spontaneous! We arranged a program in Druze orphanage just a week in advance. We were in an internet cafe in Beirut calling different organizations to invite them to our programs. The person from the orphanage hardly spoke English but nevertheless invited us to come, so we were a bit confused and couldn’t imagine how great the program would be! We came late as the driver couldn’t find the way, and all the teachers and kids were welcoming us as the bus approached the orphanage. The hall for the performance, as well as the whole place was beautiful and big, and this orphanage turned out to be the largest and one of the most famous Druze orphanages in the area. We didn’t expect we would have the sound system, so kids had to patiently wait for about 30 minutes for us to set up the equipment and get ready.
The atmosphere was very soft and friendly, and it was really nice to see all those kids enjoying the performance, clapping with the rhythm of the songs and gradually getting used to their guests from many different countries and . There were about 80 children present, as the other 400 were home or at summer schools. They were mostly very small, but some were of school age. After a couple of songs the dancers did a short meditation exercise in the form of a story coupled with a dance, and the children followed, asking their inner tree of life to grow very big! They seemed to enjoy the change a lot, and it was so nice that the teachers also tried and then helped their students to do everything properly. We had to finish the program soon as it was time for children to have a lunch and we had started later than we supposed to, but even this time was enough for both children and artists to enjoy the program! We hope this little meditation experience will help these children as they all now have a very useful method to balance themselves and stay in peace no matter what happens outside.