A week in the life of a 15-year-old in Lebanon

Me getting groceries. (Courtesy of Huda)

Me getting groceries. (Courtesy of Huda)

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Monday

It’s the first day in the week. I wake up early at 6 a.m. to go to school. I brushed my teeth, arranged my bed, dressed in my school uniform and fixed my hair. My breakfast was sandwich labneh [strained yoghurt] with hot tea.

Today was the last day in the midterm exams. I was so eager to solve the math exam. I like to deal with numbers and solve complicated questions, unlike historical material, which needs a big mind to memorize all that unnecessary information. I did my best in the exam. It was so easy and I hope to have full marks.

In the break, I met my friends. One of them started to talk about her problem and for sure we tried to advise her how to solve it. After that we returned back to the class and continued learning the rest of the materials.

Finally, I returned back home after an exhausted day. I quickly washed my hands and ate my lunch because I was so hungry. Then I slept for four hours and when I woke up, I felt a pain in my stomach. But despite the pain, I tried to finish my homework. I didn’t finish all of it but I tried to solve most of it because the pain was increasing. Immediately afterwards I went back to sleep to feel a little better.

Tuesday

At 6:30 a.m., my mum tried to wake me up, but I told her that I was so tired and I couldn’t go to school. I woke up at 10:30 a.m. I ate my breakfast with my tender mum who worried and cared for me until I felt better.

At 2:30 p.m., Mrs. Sally called me. She is the social worker at Naba’a organization, which supports girls in my community. Sally asked me if I could go with Naba’a to visit the municipality of Wadi Nahli and Mankoubin. For sure I agreed. Sally is a nice girl. She always cares about us, listens to our problems, helps us when we fall into trouble and advises us when we need her. She is always beside me and all the girls in Naba’a project that is helping girls stay in school.

Sally picked me and the girls from the committee up from our houses by the bus and we went to the municipality of Wadi Nahli and Mankoubin. There we met with mayor of the municipality to present the result of our questionnaire, which tells the challenges girls in our community face when going to school. We wanted to discuss with them our ideas about the advocacy campaign to help girls complete their education.

 
Sally, the social worker at Naba’a organization, my sisters Sara and Zeina, and my lovely friends Nour and Anwar. All of us participate in the Naba’a girls’ education project. (Courtesy of Huda)

Sally, the social worker at Naba’a organization, my sisters Sara and Zeina, and my lovely friends Nour and Anwar. All of us participate in the Naba’a girls’ education project. (Courtesy of Huda)

 

We talked about the activities of the project and all the training sessions that we got about the risks of early marriage, the importance of education and how to be leaders. We also explained how we benefited from the information and the skills we learned, like our increased self-esteem and how these sessions influenced our way of thinking positively.

We told the mayor that we want to put on an interactive theatre performance, which aims to raise the awareness of girls and their parents about the importance of educating the girls at the secondary level and shows the risks of the early marriage.

The mayor welcomed us very well. He said that he is very happy to see girls at a very young age able to express their opinions in this positive way. He promised us to provide the hall of the municipality to perform the interactive play and he will also help us in inviting families to attend the play. We thanked the mayor for his good reception and for his respect for our opinions about the aims of the advocacy campaign.

I was very happy with this meeting. It’s the first time that I talked with an important person. When I talked with him, I was a little bit nervous, but he started to make jokes to support us and so that we feel more comfortable.

 
Working on my math homework. (Courtesy of Huda)

Working on my math homework. (Courtesy of Huda)

 

About 4 p.m., I arrived my home. I washed, I ate my lunch with my lovely family, then we started to talk, laugh, and my sister took a funny picture of me. After that I sat down to prepare my lessons for the next day. Then I went to bed shortly after taking my meal.

Wednesday

I got up from bed early in the morning. I took my shower, but it took a lot of time so I didn’t get my breakfast today.

At 6:50 a.m., the bus picked me up to go to school. Classes at school start at 7:00 a.m., we have 45 minute classes with short breaks between them. The first three classes were Arabic. They were boring and my classmates were sleepy.

At the break I ate my breakfast, which was yummy. After that I walked a little with my girlfriends Nancy, Raghad and Malak. Nancy is my closest friend. Although she has a lot of characteristics that I don’t like, I still love her. We talked about our friend which is engaged to a person who is twice her age — she is 17 and he is 38 years old. Malak said that it’s a crime against her and that even if she is suffering from bad economic situation, she must refuse this marriage. Nancy said that her family convinced her to marry this person and they don’t know what they are doing with their daughter. Raghad ask me if this girl and her family could join the Naba’a awareness session that includes information about early marriage, importance of education and child protection. I told her that I already asked the girl to join us at the Naba’a organization, but she is busy preparing for her wedding. But I will make sure to discuss this with Mrs. Sally.

 
Me and my closest friend, Nancy. (Courtesy of Huda)

Me and my closest friend, Nancy. (Courtesy of Huda)

 

At 2 p.m. I returned back to home. The lunch was tuna salad. I love this meal especially when mum prepares it with love. After one hour I took a little physical exercise. After taking exercise, I went out for a walk in the open field with my sister Sara. There I breathed pure air and mind and body are both refreshed. Then I returned home.

I sat down to prepare my school tasks. I finished my studies at about 9 p.m. I went to bed after I enjoyed television with my sister Sara and after I maintained my diary.

Thursday

Today, I woke up early as usual and I did my morning routine duties. I ate my delicious breakfast, which was grilled cheese sandwich with cucumber.

My day at the school was abnormal. The teachers gave us our certificate in the presence of our parents. My scores were not good. My mum was not happy with the results, but I promised her that I will study well and do better the next month.

I returned back to home at about 2 p.m. I quickly get my lunch and go to the Naba’a office. Sally asked me if I could go with them to the meeting with the municipality of Fawar and Ayroneyyeh for the same purpose of that in Wadi Nahli and Mankoubin but with a different girls’ committee. My job in the municipality was to take photos for the meeting. I liked this session. It was familiar and comfortable and also because taking pictures is one of my hobbies.

 
Me, Nancy and our Arabic teacher. (Courtesy of Huda)

Me, Nancy and our Arabic teacher. (Courtesy of Huda)

 

When I returned home, my mum asked me to bring vegetables from the grocery. Then I went out for a walk in the open air for about an hour with my lovely friends Anwar and Nour. It was good time spent with them especially because it was sunny day and we ate ice cream. Then I came back home again before the sunset.

Friday

Today is a holiday. I woke up early and prepared pancakes as a breakfast for my family. It was so delicious. Then I helped my mum in arranging the house.

After that I went to the Naba’a office. We meet there every Friday. Recently, we have talked in the sessions about the advocacy campaigns that we will do during March. I like these sessions. They prepare us to face the obstacles in life and support us to be an active member in the society. They make us able to express our opinions and able to change the situation where we live. On this day, we wrote the text of the interactive play. All of us shared our ideas to create a perfect script.

 
Every girl was designing the place of her dream job at Naba’a. One girls designed a beauty center, another designed a library, others designed children’s clinics and restaurants. (Courtesy of Huda)

Every girl was designing the place of her dream job at Naba’a. One girls designed a beauty center, another designed a library, others designed children’s clinics and restaurants. (Courtesy of Huda)

 

When I returned home I found my family waiting for me to go visit our relatives. We had lunch there and had a lot of fun. I love my family, the most beautiful thing in life is to see your family gathering around you. Then we back home and I quickly got to sleep.

Saturday

I didn’t wake up on time so I had put on my coat very quickly to catch the bus. Even though I was a bit annoyed, I was very excited for the last session, which was volleyball.

I sat on the first bench and listened to what my teachers say. I took down the important notes. I was very serious today because I promised my mother to become better.

 
Reading at the Naba’a office. (Courtesy of Huda)

Reading at the Naba’a office. (Courtesy of Huda)

 

Finally, sport class started. It is the most precious period for us because it discharges our energies. We had a lot of fun during it.

I came back home and ate the most delicious cheeseburger. Then I quickly did my homework. After that I helped my younger sister with her homework. Then I relaxed for some time while I was watching television and worked on the internet.

I stayed at home and didn’t go out today. I was happy that all of my family gathered around each other and discussing what happened with them during the day. Then I got to sleep after I wrote my diary.

Sunday

On Sunday morning we decided that today were going to spend the day by the sea. My dad is a fisherman and he enjoys fishing a lot. We woke up early, we had our breakfast and then we packed our stuff and decided to go to Al Mina [a coastal town in Lebanon]. The weather was nice and the sun was shiny. We had a good time and the lunch was tasty. It was a nice day.

This piece is available in Arabic, French and Spanish.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Huda is a 15-year-old student from Lebanon. Her favourite subject in school is math and she loves to eat ice cream.