How to distill five days of talking, walking, observing, witnessing, travelling, praying, and discerning into anything that resembles coherence?
That is the question, most exercising me right now.
Listening to the people of this place: those born here, those who have chosen to make this place their home, those who landed here with no choice and those who are just passing through.
Watching displaced children, traumatised, fearful, anxious, but still able to smile, to hope. Seeing them loved and cared for by those whose only aim in life is to bring God's love into these trembling hearts.
Seeking to understand what is really needed, and not jump in with both feet assuming I might know better.
Walking through the bustling city, with its cosmopolitan mix of nationalities, religious affiliation, wealth and poverty side by side. The food and drink, the smells and sounds, the heat.
All combine to be a heady mix.
I am not sure what I expected before I came here.
And. I am still not sure what I have received.
I think it's the children that have had the greatest impact.
On Sunday, in church, part of the family, well fed, well cared for, secure, loved, wanted.
On Monday, in school. Refugees. Status-less. Undernourished, afraid, timid, loved, wanted.
On Tuesday, on the streets, refugees, begging, hungry, bold, desperate, unwanted, unloved, exploited.
On Wednesday, in school. Refugees. Well fed, nourished, loved, cared for.
On Thursday, older, in education, bright young people at the AUB, learning, growing, exploring, secure, loved, confident of their place in the world.