Live from Beirut

Live from Beirut

After some 24 hours of travel from Cincinnati to New York to Paris to Beirut, I am safely tucked away in my Lebanese hotel — and already this trip is amazing.

It’s hard to know where to begin. Our CNEWA journalist immersion group technically hasn’t done anything yet, but something about the experience has all my brain’s little pistons firing like mad.

What I want to remember

Please forgive me for taking a rather easy way out here and making a list. But right now, all I can think about are the dozens of things I don’t ever want to forget.

Here are some highlights:

  • Meeting my group of co-travelers in New York and quickly engaging in a fascinating conversation with Rita Sawaya, a Lebanese native currently working in Canada;
  • Seeing Cyprus as we flew over it, crossing the Mediterranean en route into Lebanon;
Beirut from aircraft descent

Beirut coastline

  • Descending into Beirut and seeing the Lebanese coastline, a sight I never imagined being able to behold;
  • Walking out of the airport into a gorgeous, balmy evening that felt so welcoming;
  • Driving through the city, which seems like a mixture of Cairo, Rome and Paris with all its traffic, new construction and signage in English, Arabic and French;
  • Listening to our driver, Michel, describe the history and the current challenges of his country with such pride, yet also the concern of someone worried about a dear loved one;
  • Sitting in traffic next to a bright red, shiny Ferrari blasting Middle Eastern pop music;
  • Entering my room at Country Lodge Hotel, where I might be enjoying the nicest accommodations I have ever had;
  • Partaking in a true Lebanese dinner, where dishes just kept coming, seemingly without ceasing — 15-20 mezze, a mixed grill, three desserts, wine — all of it a feast for the eyes, as well as the stomach.
Feast at Country Lodge Hotel

The CNEWA group

A new sensation

But perhaps what I most want to remember is just how I feel right now. I feel energized, excited and totally at peace.

This is like a dream come true for a journalist/Catholic/explorer. Though I have barely slept in the past day, I am ready to get dressed and get on the bus right now. I feel such a sense of excitement and hope and wonder! What has hit me is how long it’s been since I experienced this sensation.

Tomorrow we will drive to Tyre and meet the Melkite Catholic Bishop George Bakhouni. Later, we will spend the afternoon in the southern villages of Ain Ebel, Rmeish and Yaroun. That will take us in the direction of the Israeli border, the land of Hezbollah.

Yet I’m not scared or worried. I just cannot wait to see what God has in store for me. In a weird way, I can feel Him with me, just existing in the opportunity.

I am so blessed.


About the Author

Jennifer Scroggins works in Marketing in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Lisa Biedenbach

    Looking forward to reading and learning more, Jennifer!

  • DanK

    Your first two travel blogs convey a sense of what you are experiencing in Lebanon. I trust your visits with key people in key places will make a great impact. I look forward to more reports.
    Dan Kroger, OFM