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Today, Lebanon’s future farmers are an endangered species. An entire generation of potential farmers – children whose parents fled to Beirut – grew up in the big city where they studied with urban students and were attracted by urban subjects and urban futures.

Bright and ambitious, these village youth don’t take easily to the suggestion that they abandon careers in architecture or software design to raise white beans. Abundant water, however, may make it possible to keep them down on the farm. Their business talents may yet be combined with the love and appreciation many still have for the land.

There is talk of raising mangoes, popular in Lebanon and a good moneymaker, but presently imported. Flowers, an ingredient in virtually all Lebanese occasions, will yield faster crops. Both of these endeavors require feasibility studies and marketing strategies. Agricultural engineers may indeed heed the call. There is also talk of building cold storage facilities. These items would be imported through the local agents of international companies. Opportunity never stops knocking.

Meanwhile, community leaders are working to create outlets for those young people who already make the village their home. The basketball court is rarely empty.

Historically, the Druze village of Dmit and the Christian village of Serjbal have been on good terms. Feast days and funerals find villagers heading in each other’s directions for a respectful courtesy call.

But it’s water that will bring these two communities closer together, now that their pipe dreams have come true.

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Marilyn Raschka is a frequent contributor to Catholic Near East.



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Tags: Lebanon Village life Farming/Agriculture Water