As Lebanon’s economic system continues to worsen by the day, people who find themselves determined to get requirements for his or her households are resorting to buying and selling their private belongings by a social media group.
With the Lebanese lira devaluating to over 8,000 to $1 on the parallel market and the worth of products doubling and even tripling in some situations, the Fb group “Lebanon is Bartering” has exploded with membership.
The group, based by Hassan Hasna earlier this yr, permits for members to commerce their belongings with others within the group, however, as of late, some members have taken to utilizing the group to commerce their possessions to get requirements corresponding to meals and, most frequently, milk for his or her youngsters.
“We determined to do one thing to assist these individuals by doing the barter factor,” Hasna instructed Al-Arabiya English. “No matter you may have that you just don’t want, chances are you’ll change it for stuff that you just do want. Individuals have stuff of their properties that they don’t want as nicely, however they don’t need something in return. Now persons are asking for meals.”
Bartering for meals
The commonest merchandise that persons are asking for is Nido, a milk powder substitute for kids, with the supply in return often being garments or sneakers. Nonetheless, some are going even additional and providing meals that has an extended shelf life, corresponding to flour and rice.
“When my son was out of milk, and I began begging individuals to lend me cash to purchase him milk, nobody was capable of give me cash,” Jihan Mroweh stated of her first time utilizing the Fb group. “I made a decision then that I wanted to offer him with milk in any method potential as a result of he can’t survive with out meals. There have been good individuals who have been capable of give me a few of their mouneh (meals provides) to commerce as a result of I actually don’t have the rest to commerce.”
Mroweh doesn’t work and her husband misplaced his job at a shoe manufacturing unit after it closed. She has 5 youngsters, together with a child who’s simply over a yr previous. With nobody within the household working and the worsening financial scenario, day-after-day for her brings the worry of operating out of provides or one in all her youngsters getting sick.
“We now can not afford 90 % of meals,” she defined, “I sleep and wakeup praying that I’m not out of diapers and milk, as a result of I can not afford to purchase new ones. I can not afford to purchase my youngsters any new garments or sneakers. My youngsters crave chips and juice, however even that we can not afford.”
Helpless and hopeless
In early June, AFP revealed images exhibiting Lebanese standing in entrance of their empty fridges to spotlight the rising meals insecurity all through the nation. This, coupled with individuals being compelled to commerce their belongings to get meals and different requirements, has created a way of helplessness for many who are watching all of this happen.
“I noticed this group and other people attempting to change merchandise to get child formulation, milk or for diapers,” Luna Safwan, a contract journalist, instructed Al Arabiya English. “It form of made me really feel helpless as a result of regardless of how a lot we write about it otherwise you attempt as a human to assist others, once you see that it has come right down to this, it simply actually made me really feel helpless.”
Hasna was additionally shocked when he noticed the desperation of the people who find themselves utilizing his group.
“Persons are giving clothes, they’re giving gadgets from their family simply to ask for meals in return and to ask for child milk, diapers or groceries,” he said. “That is actually surprising that now we have come to a stage the place you must take from your individual gadgets, your individual belongings and valuables, to get meals in return.”
When Mroweh’s household found what she was doing, they have been “very upset” however didn’t cease her as they understood the more and more dire scenario.
With the financial scenario worsening, Hasna predicts that the variety of individuals becoming a member of and utilizing the group will proceed to develop. He added that regardless of how a lot he desires to assist, he’s restricted in what he can do.
“There are lots of circumstances the place you’re feeling that they’re so determined, however I can not do something,” he defined. “I can’t open the group absolutely for humanitarian issues as a result of that’s not my objective. My objective is to not do a charity group. My objective is for the Lebanese individuals to remain robust and to work collectively hand-in-hand to get by this dangerous interval.”
Again to the streets
Safwan argued that folks must go back to the streets to demand change or else danger this desperation turning into the brand new regular.
“We’ve been seeing individuals look within the trash for meals, individuals posing in entrance of empty fridges, commerce their items on Fb teams,” she said. “I really feel that this couldn’t get any worse, however this nation retains shocking us. Both individuals return to the streets and demand a full reform specializing in corruption or we’re going to be caught on this for some time and all of this would be the new regular.”
For individuals like Mroweh, they’re pessimistic and terrified of the long run, believing that the scenario will solely worsen.“My dream is to go away Lebanon as a result of there isn’t a hope,” Mroweh stated solemnly, “I simply need my youngsters to have a very good future as a result of we will’t all the time depend on individuals to assist.”
Final Replace: Tuesday, 30 June 2020 KSA 08:49 – GMT 05:49