Happy day at Souk el Tayeb

Today we had an amazing morning at Souk el Tayeb! Waking up at 7am, I picked up Lioba, Rahel and Lama from Hamra before driving over to the Souk el Tayeb, taking with us a whole carton of injera among other yummy things.

The farmers' market in sunshine
The farmers’ market in sunshine

Souk el Tayeb, is a weekly farmer’s market that take place every Saturday from 9am to 2pm. They relocated recently from Saifi Village to Beirut Souks, Downtown. Last year, in conjunction with International Workers Day, 24/7 campaign arranged an African & Asian Food Festival within the market. This year, thanks to Mira, organizer of Souk el Tayeb, we did the festival again!

We go to the market and started setting up at 8am. The sun shone and the atmosphere was great. Rahel had brought Ethiopian coffee which she made fresh on the spot, a great success for us in desperate need for coffee! For breakfast we had some delicious momos which Priya, Dipendra and two Nepalese girls prepared fresh on the spot. Nelly arrived with four heavy bags including a huge wok of fried glass noodles and a coconut dessert from the Philippines. I later found out that Nelly was up since 2am preparing the food! Three Sri Lankan ladies had prepared many pots of curries and stews, served with rice and naan bread. By 10-11am the market was bustling and everyone was busy selling, serving and talking to interested customers.

Rahel by the Ethiopian stand
Rahel by the Ethiopian stand

Our information stand stand also received a lot of attention too thanks to the antiracism poster campaign. There we many customers who were interested in the issues that migrant workers face in Lebanon. Many were shocked to find out how frequent deaths occur and also in general of the abuse and exploitation many workers face working in Lebanon. We got a lot of positive feedback to our campaign and work in general. Several said they will join in on the demonstration tomorrow and the movie screening on Tuesday. We do need to, however, prepare urgently some Arabic fact sheets and brochures! Who wants to help?

Happy Lioba at MWTF stand
Happy Lioba at MWTF stand

Souk el Tayeb was a very safe and supportive setting for the migrant workers and to share with Lebanese and foreign visitors about their cultures, experiences as well as raise awareness of important issues! Many domestic helpers that went along with their employers to the market also got a chance to meet people from their countries, which gave them a chance to exchange phone numbers in case they encounter difficulties working here.

So despite the storm that took over at 12pm – a end of the world scene of us huddling together in the tents – we all enjoyed the market immensely! Rahel called me later and said she had a great time and made a nice profit. Nelly, who had been up since 2am, was not a little bit tired and was very excited to be part of this and being a sales woman.

We want to give a big thanks to Mira who helped with us greatly by providing the stands, the serving materials and for initiating the event this year! We are all looking forward to a further collaboration in the near future.

See more pictures

Janie Shen

8 responses to “Happy day at Souk el Tayeb

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