Restoring Tati's House after Beirut Explosion

Nouhad Maamari aka Tati (our family’s version of ‘teta’) has been in her one bedroom apartment in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood of Beirut since the 1950s. This small home helped her raise her four children, survive the Civil war, host countless dinners for family members (who never eat enough), and has been Tati’s sanctuary. It has always been a time capsule for everyone in the family, and for the most part has remained the same in what was a gentrifying neighborhood, especially in the last decade. Many elderly were being pushed out but Tati fought and remained right where she wanted to be.

Before the massive August 4 explosion, Lebanon was already fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, a political unrest, and a dwindling economic crisis which led to famine. Her apartment and neighborhood were only getting electricity one hour a day due to the electricity rationing happening in the city. Once the airport opened up again after halting flights for nearly four months, she begrudgingly listened to her family and left for Canada to at least wait out the pandemic. Had it been up to her, she would’ve stayed in Lebanon. Ten days after her arrival to Ottawa is when the Port of Beirut, which is a mere two kilometers away from her home, exploded. 

We are so grateful she was not there and is unharmed.

We are just one of the many families in Lebanon processing the death, destruction, and absolute heartbreak that resulted from the explosion. We know that you have many places to donate to and would encourage you to help Lebanon recover in any way that speaks to you. Her home though, like most homes in Mar Mikhael and Gemmayze, has been shattered. If donating to help fix Tati’s home feels good for you, we would so appreciate the support. 

We want to be completely transparent with this process. Our family, along with the rest of Lebanon, is still processing the explosion so we don’t know how much the repairs will be in the end. What we do know is all the windows and most doors need to be replaced, her televisions broke, and her car was damaged by debris. If for some reason we have more that was donated than what Tati needs, we can help directly support other family members impacted and then all extra funds will go to organizations helping migrant workers in Lebanon.

If you know Tati, you know how much pride she takes in taking care of her home. We will never bring back the original beauty and detail of the physical space she spent her entire adult life in, but we can restore and redefine Tati’s sanctuary with our collective efforts, the true Lebanese way. Thank you for seeing us.

Below you can see Tati in her entryway and some pictures of the damage. 



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