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A UK expatriate in Tripoli Lebanon

Article en anglais

How would the living look like for a United Kingdom (UK) citizen coming to do volunteer work in one of the camps for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon? Rohan Talbot recounts about his 6 months experience in Tripoli, north Lebanon. It was a mixture of politics, psychology, journalism, photography, and daily life stories. Here is an excerpt.

Rohan Talbot. Photo (C) Ibrahim Chalhoub
Rohan Talbot. Photo (C) Ibrahim Chalhoub
podcast_uk_expatriate_lebanon.mp3 Podcast_UK_Expatriate_Lebanon.mp3  (366.54 Ko)

I was never able to fully understand Lebanese politics”, said the young man with 2 masters in international studies and diplomacy. He was very happy to interact with people around and devoted to his volunteer work despite that he had to pay from his own savings to sustain himself in the country where economy is on the decreasing scale and the cost of life on the rise. “I was able to save some money from my previous work in the UK, and I use it whenever I have to, which is quite often”, Rohan added with a laughter.

After spending 6 months in Baddawi camp for Palestinian refugees volunteering for a charity, the British young man came to a conclusion that he loves Lebanon. “I was not able to see much of this mysterious and beautiful country because I had to spend most of my time working. Perhaps I will spend my last 5 days touring around”, he said.
Rohan has been writing a lot of reports about the work being carried by the charity to help the Palestinians mingle with the society and increase their awareness about hygiene, health issues, and mental disorders. The 26 year-old man graduated with a BS in psychology before he moved to international studies in which he completed a thesis about forgiveness. “It was about a kind of transposition of the application of individual forgiveness onto societies”. It is evident that the humanistic views of Rohan rhyme directly with his charity work. “I also do some fieldwork taking photographs of the events conducted at the camp, but I sometimes have some difficulties running after the children during the heat of summer in Tripoli which could not be compared to the weather in UK”.

After some talk about his psychology background which led him to be pretty much didactic in his way of writing, the British expatriate indicated that he is a columnist for 2 websites. “It feels a bit difficult when writing for a non-academic audience. I have to review and revise my articles in order to render them as close to the people as possible fearing that I might be considered arrogant”. Well if he is to be consider supercilious than you would better be informed of the way Rohan spends the evenings when he has no work. ‘I would love to stay longer talking to you’, he said, “but I have a pile of clothes for washing waiting for me this evening”. Doing the laundry with some soap and water in the bucket is a primitive way of living, but Rohan accepted everything based on the principle that he loves to do charity work. “Living with people the way they do brings you closer to them”, he added showing his understanding of fieldwork based on anthropology despite the fact that he never studied it.

Rohan Talbot is supposed to be in London by now. He had already done charity work there for about 2 years before he arrived to the country of Cedars. He should stay there for about a month before he either comes back to another charity in Lebanon or find a similar job somewhere around the globe.


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