PERSONAL STORY 2

Lebanon

While Wazir used to be a minister in the government a few years back, currently he works on consultancy. Due to both the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, however, one of his clients dropped. Meanwhile, a second client seems to be uncertain and could potentially drop as well. The third client, however, seems to be one to stay. Where before he would meet up with clients in-person to discuss everything, due to the pandemic this work had to be shifted to online. Meetings are now held using WhatsApp or FaceTime.

Wazir is also a writer. Having 18 books already published, and quite some experience of working in the press in the Arab world. Recently he has started working on two other books, one about his life, as well as his experience in the Lebanese Government. With writing often comes reading, another hobby he indulges in. Namely biographies, non-fiction novels, studies, and the news. Neither activities are enough to keep him occupied throughout the day, however. Every day he plays some scrabble, but also talks to family and friends via his phone. Listening to music such as classical, salsa, Arabic music, and dance de salon. With lockdown restrictions in place, when possible and allowed, wazir would go visit his friend, also a former politician in Lebanon who resides close to him. They kept social distance regulation and wore facemasks during their exchanges.

Wazir 's wife, like him, wanted to bring some positivity to the situation of being stuck at home. So, for the first 60 days, she was inspired to take pictures, creating exuberant scenes and themes for the day. Ranging from ninja-warrior, Charlie Chaplin, to the Red Queen. These pictures required quite some work. The two did this daily, which was a good way to bring positivity and joy into their life's as well as that of others. This often-required furniture too be moved around the house, and items thought to be long lost to be removed from boxes in the darkest corner of the house - storage. She is lucky to have a business that takes place online, as well as both nationally and internationally, thus her work remains largely unaffected by the situation.

The last member of the household is the housekeeper. In the Middle East, it is quite common for households to have a live-in housekeeper who takes care of a majority of the tasks relating to upkeep. Due to her new limitations due to the pandemic, she has resorted to producing a wider variety of meals to keep herself entertained. As Wazir said, "She comes with lots of nice surprises. So, most of the time when we are eating, we find ourselves as if we're going to an Italian restaurant or things like this."

After dinner, once the sun has gone down, the couple retreats to the TV room, where they will watch series or movies. They do this a couple of hours but try to limit it. To ensure their entire day is not spent behind the TV they only do so once nighttime has arrived. He has recently grown quite fond of cooking programs, think Hell's Kitchen or the like.

While much of their life sounds similar to that of those in the Netherlands, with some more extravagance, it is not all good news. Due to the economic situation in the country, they currently cannot access their money in the bank. The limited money they can withdraw is heavily devalued. While in the West people face uncertainty, this is only more extreme to the residents of Lebanon. Despite this, they try to remain positive and keep a smile on their face. When the opportunity arises, they step in their car and pass by family. The family would stand on the balcony, and they would talk to them from the streets (Redacted, 2020). 

International Aid & Development - COVID-19
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