Christ­mas fair cel­e­brates Le­banese-Brazil­ian cul­ture, and gives back

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - LUBNAN -

BEIRUT: Amid the on­go­ing hol­i­day flurry, 20 Le­banese-Brazil­ian women ex­hib­ited their hand­made goods at the “Jin­gle and Min­gle” mar­ket Tues­day as part of a sea­sonal cel­e­bra­tion of com­mu­nity bonds and giv­ing back.

Clas­sic hol­i­day tunes in Por­tuguese played over the speak­ers as the women, rep­re­sent­ing the Arteiras do Brasil col­lec­tive, sold their crafts at the sec­ond edi­tion of the hol­i­day mar­ket hosted at the Brazil-Le­banon Cul­tural Cen­ter (Brasiliban) in Ashrafieh.

The event was a cel­e­bra­tion of Brazil­ian-Le­banese cul­ture, with heavy em­pha­sis on the for­mer, as serv­ings of tra­di­tional food filled the air with sa­vory scents dif­fer­ent from tra­di­tional Mediter­ranean fare.

This year, 10 per­cent of the event’s pro­ceeds have gone to ben­e­fit Em­power Through In­te­gra­tion, an Amer­i­can NGO founded by a Le­banese-Amer­i­can to pro­mote in­clu­siv­ity for vis­ually im­paired in­di­vid­u­als in Le­banese and Amer­i­can so­ci­eties.

ETI’s Le­banon di­rec­tor Anna Bar­bosa, who at­tended the mar­ket, ex­plained that the or­ga­ni­za­tion seeks to work with the wider com­mu­nity in or­der to in­crease aware­ness and end stig­mas as­so­ci­ated with sight im­pair­ments.

In ad­di­tion to aware­ness pro­gram­ing, ETI also pro­vides ser­vices for the vis­ually im­paired – a task that Bar­bosa said would be made eas­ier with the funds gen­er­ated at Jin­gle and Min­gle.

“Nor­mally, I don’t give in to the com­mer­cial as­pect of Christ­mas,” Brazil­ian Am­bas­sador to Le­banon Paulo Cordeiro said, laugh­ing as he held sev­eral small bags of goods Tues­day af­ter­noon.

“But in this case, it’s for a good cause,” he added.

Cur­rent fig­ures es­ti­mate that around 7 mil­lion Brazil­ians have Le­banese an­ces­try.

Cordeira said about 16,000 Brazil­ians live in Le­banon, adding that this un­der­scored the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing strong re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

“The in­te­gra­tion process was quite pos­i­tive,” the am­bas­sador told The Daily Star.

“To­day, there is a cau­cus of Brazil­ian deputies with Le­banese roots in Brazil’s [Par­lia­ment],” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Cordeiro, the first group of Le­banese na­tion­als who im­mi­grated to Brazil were largely Ma­ronite. Now, he said, the Le­banese pop­u­la­tion in Brazil is religiously di­verse and lives across the coun­try.

Mona Hachem, a ven­dor at the mar­ket, said she was born and raised in Brazil to Le­banese par­ents be­fore mov­ing back to her an­ces­tral coun­try when she mar­ried her Le­banese hus­band.

Liv­ing in south Le­banon’s Si­don, Hachem now makes ar­ti­sanal soaps as a hobby and a way to make ad­di­tional in­come.

“When my kids were at school, I started do­ing crafts for fun, for my­self,” she said.

“The first time I cooked the first batch of soap, I couldn’t stop mak­ing more.”

Hachem now runs her own busi­ness, Mounaia, which sells a line of home­made body care prod­ucts.

Through­out the morn­ing, she spoke with the other women run­ning the Jin­gle and Min­gle mar­ket, with whom she of­ten meets.

“There are so many Brazil­ians here,” she said.

“All across the coun­try, you can find peo­ple within our com­mu­nity, just as there are many Le­banese there.

“Some peo­ple end up com­ing back here, some peo­ple don’t. It de­pends.”

Liv­ing across the coun­try and rep­re­sent­ing all sects, mem­bers of the Arteiras do Brasil col­lec­tive are con­nected by their strong ties to both coun­tries as well as their hand­i­crafts.

“There are many Brazil­ian ladies in our com­mu­nity in Le­banon with a lot of tal­ent, and Arteiras is one group which rep­re­sents that.

“Even though they live in dif­fer­ent ar­eas in Le­banon, they come to work on their crafts to­gether, or just so­cial­ize,” Brasilibal Di­rec­tor Mon­ica Bazi said.

“When they ap­proached us to do this mar­ket, we agreed. It’s a great op­por­tu­nity for oth­ers in the com­mu­nity as well as other Le­banese to meet them.” –

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lebanon

© PressReader. All rights reserved.