Humans of HM – Irati Egorho Diez (11)

Simon Yang, Staff Writer

Irati Egorho Diez (11) moved to Lebanon with her mother last September, learning Arabic and volunteering for nine months before returning to the school.

Egorho Diez was fascinated by the idea of learning Arabic after following her mother to a conference in Canada, she said. There, she witnessed Saharawi activists and Moroccans debate in Arabic. Egorho Diez felt the urge to understand what they were saying, although she did have preliminary knowledge of Arabic, she said.

During her stay, Egorho Diez went to school at College des Soeurs du Rosaire, a school run by Lebanese nuns in a town called Bourj Hammoud near Beirut. Half of the classes were in French and half were in Arabic, which allowed her to study both languages intensely, she said.

Egorho Diez also participated in a small organization called Beitouna during the weekends. The organization aimed to bring together people of different nationalities and religions, she said.

“There is a lot of tension between Christians and Muslims, as well as between Lebanese and Syrians in the area, so Beitouna’s goal is to promote peaceful coexistence,” Egorho Diez said.

Egorho Diez helped run activities for kids on Saturdays, such as arts and crafts and book reading, she said.

“Beitouna was an escape and a beacon for the children of Bourj Hammoud,” Egorho Diez said. “It was where they could create and have their work valued and appreciated.”

Egorho Diez found it especially difficult to adjust to the rhythm of the country. “Aspects of life that were very different for me, such as electricity cuts and water cuts, were definitely something I had to get used to, but they helped me better understand life in Lebanon,” Egorho Diez said.