On a daily basis, I meet many interesting individuals. Some are Lebanese and others are not, but they all have one thing in common: they have a story to tell. Faces of Lebanon is a weekly series that shares the voices of those who don’t make it in the news. This series showcases individuals from all walks of life who have left an impact on me.
Anna came from Eritrea to Lebanon in 1996 to work when she was 17 years old. She says there was no work in Ethiopia or Eritrea because of the ongoing war. She is from Eritrea, but left before the age of 18 years old because in Eritrea, the government requires men and women to serve in the military. After the military, then all men and women will get their passport.
“Since I left before 18 years old, I don’t have my passport. I can’t go back Eritrea to see my family. I haven’t seen my family in 10 years and that was in 2004 when the Eritrea embassy gave me a visa to go back home.”
She currently holds an Ethiopian passport. When asked how it makes her feel not to go back to the place you are born, she bows her head with a pause,
“I can’t describe to you how it makes me feel. I always put a smile on my face, but this smile is just to hide what I’m really feeling. I’m sad. When you’re a young girl, you need your mom for guidance and I didn’t have that.
When asked what her dream is and where she sees herself in the next five years, she answers with a glimmer of optimism.
“I hope to marry William,(who is the man in her life) and then go to Egypt where his family lives. From there, we will see. He will probably open up a shop and I will stay home, but we will see. ”