For some reason my attention was drawn to this young kid by the name of Moaiyad. He works at a mechanic shop and he is originally from Syria and has been here in Lebanon for many years. You see they don’t pay well in Syria so a lot of Syrians come to Lebanon because they get a better rate. Whats the rate in Lebanon? About $300-400USD/month. In both Lebanon and Syria there are many poor people and it’s very common that the children are forced to work to bring money for the family. He is 10 years old. He has an older brother Mohanad who is 12 years old who works next door at the other mechanic. They have 3 younger sisters aged 8, 7 and 2 who stay home with the mother. Their father works in a wheat farm all day and comes home late at night. Moaiyad and Mohanad are not regular kids. They are grown ups learning about life the hard way and street style. Moaiyad the 10 year old works 6 days a week for 10 hours a day and gets 50,000 Lebanese Pounds which is $33USD/week which is $132USD/month. His brother Mohanad on the other hand works the same hours and gets 75,000 LP which is $50/week which is $200/Month. Between them they work 480 hours a month for only $332 USD.
After hearing his story i really felt bad for him because no kid should have to work 60 hours a week and not go to school and get an education for his future dreams. Childhoods are taken away from kids like Moaiyad because they are born into poverty. I felt so bad for him. I asked him what he wants to do with his life when he grows up and he said “when i get older I want to open a mechanic shop and get married” Life dreams are very simple for kids like Moaiyad as simple things like internet are for rich people in his world. “How many kids will you have?” I asked him and he said “how ever many god gives me” You can see why there are more people in a 1st world countries who are atheist or others who simply do not believe in a god like myself for instance, because we have so many things going on in our lives that occupy us and so many other things to do. Think about it.. all people like Moaiyad have is food, clothes, a small shack to live in, work, family and a god to thank for all the things they have. We on the other hand have everything and any luxuries we could possible want! so think about it.. education, (school, tafe, apprenticeships, courses) government: (council, road rules, law, medicare) psychologists, psychiatrist, counselors, etc.. subway, internet, laptop, cars, bikes, cafes, phone, Nike sneakers, gym membership, dishwasher, hair color, piercings, a sports bag, a fashion bag, sun glasses, and anything else you can think off. Every time i saw Moaiyad I’m sure he wore the same clothes. I really felt for this kid and i know there are many others like him. I really wanted to do something for him. Something that no Lebanese person in Lebanon would ever think twice about doing.. So I befriended him. When ever i was in the area i stopped by to say hi. I treated him like a person. Over the weeks when I paid him a visit, his day would brighten and he was always happy to see me. In a world where i did not belong, he was the only one who made me feel welcome and all i had to do was treat him like a human.
I then decided to give this child a point in his life that he will remember for ever. A memory that will make him smile when thought of. A memory that he can one day show his kids. I decided to do a photo shoot for him. I asked his boss for 20 minutes of his time so that i could take his photos. He looked at me like i was a weirdo and said OK. The owner of the shop 3 doors down asked me what i was doing and i told him. He then asked why i would take photo for this boy!? I then questioned him back and asked why wouldn’t? He then said “because he’s poor”….!!! Just makes you wanna spit in his face doesn’t it? Anyhow the same day i left Lebanon I got the photos printed and then gave them to him and left my website and email details and said to him in 10 years, use this email and write to me.
When the time comes, I wonder what he’ll say
This was the last time i saw Moaiyad. I jumped on my motor bike and before i rode off, I turned and gave him a smile and a wave and he did the same. The look on his face was priceless. The moment was priceless. A scene that could never be captured by a camera. He was so happy that someone had done this for him and that made me happy. In his sad and poor life I know I’ve left a positive impression that he will never forget.
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