Maghdouche, In the news...

Just few days before our weekend market, we woke up to a little surprise in the post box:

A full page in "Hamar Arbeiderblad" newspaper about Maghdouche, Beit el Founoun and Dignity.
Wooow! and a high hat for the press and the journalists that are following the project with a lot of interest and concern.


Weekend Market - Torgdager 2. og 3. august

As in August last summer, we will be having the market days outside the gallery the 2nd. and 3rd. of August from 12:00 to 16:00. There will be a various range of products from Pelargonium plants to herbs and herbal products, other flowers, food, glass, and much more ... besides, the posibillity of having a coffee and waffles... All stand fee and our pelargonium sale will be going to support our project in Maghdouche - Lebanon :"Dignity".
At the same time, we will be openning an exhibition in the gallery with the painter Rolf Monsen.

last year weekend market
På norsk:
Også i år arrangerer vi torgdager på tunet utenfor vårt galleri den 2. og 3. august fra 1200 til 1600. I år blir det pelargonium salg, urter og urte relaterte produkter, glass mm. Det blir også i år mulig å kjøpe kaffe med noe "attåt". ............det blir en liten "torgleie" og vårt salg av pelargonium går til vårt Dignity prosjekt i Maghdouche - Libanon
Vi åpner også maleriutstilling med Rolf Monsen i galleriet.

Mr. Fancy Plants, flowerstick

Mr. Fancy Plants, is simply a beautiful handmade product for supporting your plants and decorating them. The hand-painted stick is in wood and varnished and the 2 support rings are in steel with beads. This wonderful artistic product is exclusively made by our blogfriend: vriddrett, and the sale will go to our "Dignity" project in the market weekend 2nd. and 3rd. of August. If you want to reserve a set, send us an e-mail. One set costs NOK 120.- plus porto.

På norsk:
Mr. Fancy Plants- støtte og pynt for jålete planter (og eiere) et virkelig superprodukt for planteelskere som vil pynte opp sine planter med håndmalte blomsterpinner med feste i rustfri blomstertråd med perler. Et produkt du ikke finner maken til. Mr. Fancy Plants er designet og lager av vår bloggvenn: Vriddrett. Salget av disse blomsterpinnene går til inntekt for vårt "Dignity" prosjekt og vil bli solgt på våre torgdager 2. og 3. august. Er du interessert i å reservere et sett, send oss en e-post. Ett set koster kr. 120 + porto.


Foul b'zeit, Foul b'roz - 2 Recipes in 1

Foul b'zeit - Beans in Oil
1kg soft fresh broad beans with the outer shell (out of season, I use the dry broad beans and that is without the outer shell. Soak the beans in plenty of cold water overnight. )
3 onions chopped
4 cloves of garlic crushed
1/2 cup fresh coriander chopped
1 tbs ground coriander
3 tbs lemon juice
4 tbs olive oil
1 liter of water
Salt & pepper

Top and tail the beans, and cut into small pieces (if you are using fresh beans).
Heat oil in saucepan, add onions and fry till soft.

Add garlic, ground coriander, and the beans, fry for 10 minutes, then add the water, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 45 minutes (dried beans need at least one hour cooking). When the beans are cooked, add fresh coriander, stir and cook for 5 more minutes.
Eat it with small pieces of pita bread.
Foul b'roz - Beans in Rice
Skip adding fresh coriander and maintain the water in the pan to arround 2 glasses by adding water if necessary.
Add one glass of rice and cook for arround 20 minutes.

Both dishes can be served warm or cold. Serves 4 to 6.

Stairway to Heaven, or ?

After the hole in the wall was made, comes the discussion about the stairs.
"Maallem Maurice" was called since we decided to go for iron instead of wood for the support but to keep the stairs themselves in wood. The big discussion was the size of the stair and the distance between 2 stairs ... It took a lot of mathematics... a bit too much for two artistic brains !
But as far as Ibrahim Bassoul took the calculation in charge, we trust that the result will be satisfactory.

As "maallem Maurice" promissed, the pieces were ordered and ready on time. He needed to gather them on place, following the zig-zag line traced on the wall by Ibrahim Bassoul. As soon as he connected his equipments, surprise surprise... " takk el degenteur" ... the 5 amper electric board in the house is too little to boot the equipments and the electricity got cut.
At this stage, the only possibility is to postpone the work in the stairs till the electric board is changed to 20 ampere instead of 5, and this requires an application to be sent to the lebanese electric company.
We will keep you informed !

White Coffee or do you prefer the black.....?

A blog about Maghdouche without a white coffee recipe??? that is not possible.
Like it or hate it, but once you visit Maghdouche you have to try it.
White coffee ingredients:
5 cups of water
1 cup orange flower water (mazaher)
3 teaspoons sugar

1.Boil the water (in the rakweh)
2. Add the orange flower water and the sugar and boil
3. Keep boiling for 2 minutes
Serve instead of a black coffee in the evening as it is recommended as a relaxing bedtime drink

På norsk:
5 små kopper vann (mokka)
1 kopp appelsinblomst vann (fåes kanskje i de tyrkiske dalgigvare butikkene)
3 ts. sukker
Hvordan lager du "Hvit kaffe"?
Kok vannet
Tilsett appelsinblomstvannet og sukkeret, kok opp
Kokes i 2 minutter
Server "Hvit kaffe" om kvelden istedenfor vanlig sort kaffe, "Hvit kaffe" er anbefalt som en avslappende drikk om kvelden
Appelsinblomstvann: Hver vår plukker innbyggerne i Maghdouche appelsinblomster fra trærne. Disse blomstene kommer ikke fra spiseappelsin treet. Blomstene blir dampet slik vi lager saft i dampkjele, og ut kommer appelsinblomstvannet.


Fattouche - Lebanese bread salad

1 loaf pita bread, dried or toasted
1/4 head lettuce
1-2 cucumbers, peeled & cut into small pieces
2-3 medium tomatoes, cut small pieces
1/2 white onion finely shopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint or 1 tbsp. dried mint
1/2 cup lemon juice or 1 tbsp. sumak
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 green pepper, cut in small pieces

Break bread into bite-sized pieces (about 1 1/2 inch). Tear lettuce and toss in large salad bowl. Add all vegetables and mint. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice and oil; mix well. Before serving mix in bread well. Serves 4-6.

Fattouche - Brødsalat

1 hvit loff skjert i skiver og tørket eller i brødrister
1/4 salathode, finrevet
1-2 agurker, skrelt og skjært i små biter
2-3 middels store tomater skjært i små biter
1/2 løk, fin skjæres
1/2 kopp finsnittet persille
1/4 kopp finsnittet mynte eller en ss tørket mynte
1/2 kopp presset sitronsaft eller 1 ss sumak ( kan fåes i tyrkiske mat butikker)
1/2 kopp oliven olje
Salt & pepper
1 grønn paprika, skjært i små biter

Bryt det tørkede brødet i mindre biter. Riv salat i små stykker i en salatbolle. Tilsett de finskjærte grønnsakene og mynten, tilsett salt, pepper, sitron saft og olje, bland godt, til slutt has i det tørkede brødet og bland godt. Nok til 4- 6 personer
God apetitt

First Time Granny Square !

July... it was a hot summer evening in Maghdouche and the first lesson in making the Granny square in crochet. By practice, the squares became nicely 8 x 8 cm. in 4 rows. The Granny squares are usually made by leftover yarns... but we are designing something else... Georgette, you're doing great !

På norsk:
Juli... det var en varm sommerkveld i Maghdouche og første leksjon i å lage bestemorrute i hekling. Når man øver blir sluttresultatet riktig bra, 8 x 8 cm og 4 omganger. Bestemorrutene er vanligvis laget av restegarn, men vi designer noe annet...


Pelargoniums in the Maghdouche area

Since we collect pelargoniums, we found these in Maghdouche. The first is from Nabila and Joseph Elia's house and therefore, we called it: Nabila. It is an Ivy leaf (peltatum). We named the second: Marthalim (it is coming from the house of Em Nabil Halim Hayek) and the third: Kish Kish (it is coming from the house of Michael Constantine) .

Work in the house

Since the house is old, it needed some reparation here and there...

Here is "maallem Nakhleh" opening a door that will help us access the roof from inside the house.


The house - Beit el Founoun

Here we go ! What is done is done !
Finally, we got the house ... signed the paper and got the keys, after long, very long discussions, a lot of heavy thinking and calculations...
Why? : here is the full story...

The economical conditions in Lebanon have really changed thru the years, especially after the war of 2006. People who already had serious economical difficulties found themselves in a dramatical situation. We could not just turn our eyes and continue to live normally, we got to do something ...

We discussed and discussed... and the idea became more and more clear : an art project based on recycling and handcraft that keeps for the people their dignity. We design items based on lebanese traditions, afford the help and the skills needed to get people to produce these items and then find a market to sell these items for them without any commission.
We needed a place... so we bought a small beautiful house. We baptised it Beit el Founoun (The House of Arts) and we baptised the project as: Dignity

Here I am outside the main entrance of Beit el Founoun. The second floor of the house will be a living area for friends, artists and people that would like to visit and have a closer look on the project... When it comes to food and care, it is nothing to worry about with such warm Maghdouche hospitality.

The kitchen needs some repair, paint and a lot of washing

...so do the toilets and showers

In the first floor, there will be my studio, an office and work room for the Dignity project and a bedroom. It is a good space for holding different workshops in different techniques needed for the project.
The roof terrasse before it is redecorated and painted.

All photos are taken before we started the renovation.


Our Lady of Mantara - The History

Phoenician Era
Many historians agree that the devotion to the
Virgin Mary in Lebanon replaced the Phoenician worship of Astarte. Temples and shrines to Astarte were converted to Christian places of worship, honoring the Virgin. This is also true in Magdhdouché where within the vicinity of Our Lady of Mantara are the remains of a shrine to Astarte.

Byzantine Era
During the reign of
Emperor Constantine, his mother, Saint Helena of Constantinople, requested in 324 D.C. the destruction of all pagan temples and idols dedicated to Astarte. The Astarte shrine in Magdhdouché was probably destroyed at that time and converted to a place of devotion to the Holy Mother.

Since the early Christian era, the inhabitants of Magdhdouché have venerated the cave where the
Virgin Mary rested while she waited for her son, Jesus to finish preaching in Sidon (now Saida). Saint Helena asked the Bishop of Tyre to consecrate a little chapel at the cave in Magdhdouché. She sent the people of Magdhdouché an icon of the Mother and Child and some altar furnishings. Historians believe that Saint Helena asked the people to name the chapel, and they named it “Our Lady of Mantara” or “Our Lady of the Awaiting” because it was there that the Holy Mother waited for her son. Mantara is derivitate of the Semitic root "ntr", which means “to wait."

The Arab Conquest
Saint Helena provided funds from the imperial treasury for the maintenance of the chapel. The funding continued for three centuries of
Byzantine rule in Phoenicia until Khalid ibn al-Walid defeated Emperor Heraclius at the Battle of the Yarmuk. While the caliphate, Omar, who became ruler of Jerusalem, was a pious and humble man, sparing Christendom's holiest shrines and being tolerant of his Christian subjects, the Arab rulers of the rest of Byzantium were less tolerant of the Christians, especially in the maritime cities of Tyre, Sidon, Beirut, Byblos, and Tripoli. After the majority of the Sidonians converted to Islam to receive promised privileges and immunities, the people of Magdhdouché withdrew to higher elevation on Mount Lebanon. The caliphate had recognized the Christians of Mount Lebanon as autonomous communities, paying a fixed tax. Before abandoning their village, they concealed the entrance to the cave of Our Lady of Mantara with stones, earth and vines. The people left the village through obscure mountain paths to the strongholds of Christian Lebanon. The legend of Our Lady of Mantara was passed down to the exiled generations of Magdhdouché for one thousand years.

The Crusades

The people of Magdhdouché did not return to their ancestral home despite the arrival of the Crusaders in Sidon. The Crusaders spent most of the 12th and 13th centuries in the shadow of Magdhdouché without ever suspecting the sacred cave’s existence even though they built a small fort, called La Franche Garde, within meters of the hidden entrance to the cave.

Fakhreddin's Lebanon
The people of Magdhdouché only returned to their ancestral village during the reign of Lebanon's greatest ruler, the
Druze Prince Fakhreddin II (1572-1635). The prince was the most tolerant and enlightened ruler of his day and age. He believed in equality amongst the diverse religious followers of his Lebanon. To demonstrate this equality, he appointed a Maronite Catholic as Prime Minister, a Muslim as Minister of the Interior, a Druze as Army Commander and a Jew as Finance Minister. His princedom was a rare example of non-sectarianism, and it soon became the most prosperous principality in the Ottoman Empire.
Prince Fakhreddin II created an atmosphere of freedom and security that encouraged economical progress. He made treaties with Tuscany, and other Italian states, as well as Spain and France. He opened his ports to foreign trade and welcomed Jesuit missionaries to open educational missions throughout Mount Lebanon. For the first time in a thousand years, the people of Magdhdouché felt that they were safe, and so in 1683, they returned to their ancestral village.

The Rediscovery of the Cave
It was not easy to relocate the sacred cave even though the men of Magdhdouché worked for hundreds of years near the grotto, pulling down the stones of the Crusader fort for building material for their new homes. The cave was finally rediscovered on September 8, 1721 by a young shepherd when one of his goats fell in a well-like opening in the porous limestone. Wanting to save his goat, the shepherd made a rope from vine twigs, tied it to a tree, and descended into the hole, but the rope broke and he fell. When his eyes became accustomed to the darkness of the grotto, the boy saw a soft glimmer of a golden object, which turned out to be Saint Helena’s, icon of the Mother and Child. The boy climbed up the stone walls and ran to the village to tell his discovery.

A Pilgrimage Site
Ever since the rediscovery, the cave of Our Lady of Mantara has been open to the public. It has become a major pilgrimage site in Lebanon.
Grand festivities are held each year on September 8 to commemorate the rediscovery of the sacred cave.
Near the cave, the people of Magdhdouché built a cathedral and a modern tower crowned with a bronze statue of the Virgin and Child. The tower offers pilgrims panoramic views of Sidon, the Mediterranean, and the lush hills, valleys and citrus groves of Lebanon.
(from the online NationMaster encyclopedia)
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