after 30 years...
Intro.: August 2001 Overview
Sunrise in Shweir
Aug 13 Children's Day and Shweir .com Foundation Meeting
Aug 14 Computer Workshop & Meeting Shweir Mayor
Aug 14 Architects Shakeeb & Ziad Shaya
New photos of Hotel Dhour Choueir
Aug 16 Computer and family tree workshop
Aug 17 Breakfast at Salwa Mirhej Home...
Aug 19 Breakfast at the family of Shweir.com columnist Hilda Touma Sawaya
Luncheon - Christening of M/M George Roustom's grandson at Alsad
Aug 21 Presentation by Shweir.com at Nun's Auditorium
Adel Abdel Ahad Family...
Aug 22 Subhiyeh at Ain Al Sarfed
Computer Workshop #3
Last meeting of Shweir.com/Foundation in summer 2001
Samaha, Khneisser, Matar... Family gathering at Alsad Restaurant
Late Party at Matar family
Aug 23 Breakfast at family of Adel Khneisser
Antara, then and now
Em Atef and Abou Faris
Luncheon at Naoufa Khneisser family
Early evening gathering at Hotel Central and last pivtures in Shweir...
Visiting Shweir after 30 years... by Anwar Kenicer
Overview: In one year between May 2000 to May 2001, I met more Shweirieh via www.shweir.com than I met in the previous 30 years... that experience has re-awakened my connection to family, friends, school, village and prompted me to visit Shweir after such a long absence. When I was planning my trip, some people cautioned that spending a week to 10 days in Shweir would be plenty. Well, I scheduled to spend three weeks... and towards the end of that time, I felt that I could spend at least one or two more weeks and I tried my best to extend my stay there by giving up the week I planned to spend in Paris... yes, giving up a week in Paris to stay in Shweir!... unfortunately, all flights to Paris were fully booked and oversold the last week of August - end of summer vacations and before school starts -. As such, I had to leave as scheduled and feel that I did not get a chance to visit all family and friends and places of interest that I had hoped to do. To those of you that I did not get chance to visit or spend as much time as I hoped, I offer my apologies and say... Inshallah next year. To those of you who hosted us and invited us to your homes or to other places, I say: thank you very much for your big hearts and Shweiry hospitality.
I was very happy to see so many of my cousins, friends and neighbors that I knew so long ago and to meet the new generation. Yes, I was quite impressed with our young Shweirieh... they are smart, creative, resourceful, intelligent and fun loving.
On the other hand, I was sad to see some economic decline (closed shops, little Msayfeen), scars of war (some buildings bombed or stripped of their interiors). Many of the older folks are disenchanted with lots of empty promises. It was also disappointing to note that there was a lack of united or unifying leadership. Such divisiveness is possibly due to outside influences and differing political and/or religious affiliation.
Getting to Beirut: I left San Francisco on August 2, 2001 via United Airlines to Paris. Earlier that day, my brother Sami Andre arrived from Paris and, since he works for United, facilitated my check in and an upgrade to Business Class. Wow, those seats are so comfortable especially on long flights and the service was just great... Thanks brother... within two plus hours of arriving in Paris, I transferred and got on an Air France 747 to Beirut. The flight was fully booked. It was a nice smooth flight to Beirut arriving there about 10 p.m.
At Beirut Airport: My previous impressions were of an airport that you had to disembark on the tarmac and had to put up with nosy custom agents and pushy multiple baggage handlers with outstretched demanding open hands... what a pleasant surprise... we exited via a jet way into a modern airport that rivals American big city airports. Custom agents were pleasant and welcoming. Baggage carts were plenty and they were free... that even beats many top airports in America... No pushy baggage handlers... what a great welcome feeling... While waiting in line to show passport, a lady behind me asked me on the proper way to fill the entry form since she had been in Canada for 20 years... after some small talk... her husband is from the Moujaes family, if my memory serves me correctly of the Mikhael Yousef Moujaes, , from Bhamdoone... with connection to the Moujaes of Shweir of course... small world isn't it.
Meeting Family: As soon as we finished customs, I exited the one way doors to a sea of people across a one meter high barrier that gave us some maneuverability of our luggage carts into the "Welcoming Hall". I saw first my cousin Therez, she was right up front, then her sister, Laila and my aunt Mary. After big hellos and kisses, we maneuvered the baggage to outside where it was a big traffic jam of cars double and triple parking attempting to find a spot to pick up arrivals... after about 20 minutes, we loaded the baggage into (Therez's husband) Elie Debbas Range Rover, said hello to my cousin Jack Khneisser who was in his car and took off to the Debbas' home at an area overlooking Beirut. At their home we spent a couple of hours enjoying the view from their balcony and a light snack while visiting with everyone.
Show and tell: The easiest way I have found to post so much information is to do it in chronological order by day. I have received some reports on certain events of the Festival, thank you to those who prepared them, please bear with me until that day comes to post the info and photos. I may not be able to describe or give caption to each photo at this time...
Intro.: August 2001 has become a major turning point for many Mughtaribeen including Shweir.com webmaster Anwar Kenicer, Elie Boukheir Family, Nabil Matar and George Matar, our Al Mukhtar bil Mahjar , the New Zealand contingency led by no other than Helena Corban Ataya and our young star Lama Katoul coming all the way from Abu Dhabi.
We also believe that August 2001 has become a turning point for many Shweirieh as well... that is when Eid Al Mughtaribeen with festivities and celebrations with varied themes take place over a three weeks period. The agenda is full with songs and dances, a village night, a nite to crown Miss Mughtaribeen and another to crown Miss Teenager, an afternoon for kids entertainment, a nite that combines Saif oo Terse, country songs and folklore dances.
As we report these events, please keep in mind that we may misspell someone's name or write something that may contain errors, we welcome your comments and invite you to help us correct any errors you may find.
In the three weeks that we visited Shweir, we took over 1001 photos and met just as many beautiful faces. It will take a while to sort the notes and match names to faces in pictures. We know many of you are anxious to see the pictures... as such... First I will post the digital photos with relevant reports that were submitted, then I will post scanned photos from prints.... then I will add the names, editorials and captions where I can, so... here we go...
What a majestic setting...
|Friday morning Elie Debbas took aunt Mary and me to Harissa on the Way to Shweir...||<<Inside of side chapel|
looking from above
|He stopped to fill up with petrol and I spotted a near by vines overhead...||We took scenic back roads and came to Shweir from Ain al Hanoote. I made one stop at Yazbek store and said hello to him and his wife. And another stop at Elie Bou Kheir's home... It was great to see Elie, his father and his family. We started talking and could not stop... Since I had my aunt and cousin, I promised Elie to see him at the Tennis courts in Dhour after I say hello to family and check in Dhour Choueir Hotel...|
on photo below to go to the "Community" web page and read about
Tennis Matches organized by Elie BouKheir
v v v
< view of Al Mukhalles from Hotel Dhour Choueir
Children practicing for the opening of the Festival
My cousins: Shakeeb Shaya, his son Ziad and George Saadallah Samaha
||> Sahar Joseph Mkahal Sawaya,
Janeen Emile Mikhael Sawaya (Ziad’s wife)
and 2 daughters: Vanessa & Elisa
Nayla Khalil Rasheed Sawaya
with my cousins at Lamise Patisserie in Dhour
9 pm on our way to Alsad... Chalhoub family at their balcony
would you like to join us for dinner?
They couldn't since Najib (in red) was flying next day to USA
Great dinner at Alsad
11+ pm ran across Jamil Bousaab and Elie Boukheir strolling in Shweir
midnight near al Arzal ran into Issam Harick walking his dog
|Saturday Morning with cousins Shakeeb and Amal (Khnaisser) Touma||
here plus Nabil Matar in blue and Raymon Abdel Ahad on right, the hotel co-owner
Baladieh balcony w/ Yousef Baaklini, I, Nayla, George & Nabil
Meeting my cousin Layal Khnaisser for the first time
First to arrive at Alsad breakfast for the first meeting for Shweir Foundation
George Samaha, thank you for your hospitality and generous contribution of a delicious breakfast
| < Haifa & Nuha
Iskandar Touma Sawaya
||< Sahfik Bou Saab,
Roukoz Bou Nader (from Baskinta)
Aunt Mary, family & cousins
|August 5, Sunday morning after 8 a.m. Mass at Dayr Mar Youhanna, they gave grapes instead of holy bread||
Cousin Elie who will be ordained Deacon soon
with cousins Wissam & Elie Khnaisser
|by 9:30, cousin Wissam whisked me to attend Mass at Alsaydeh, then swing by to Mar Boutros to attend the later portion of it||Mar Boutros inside||
Mar Boutros outside... they added the anater and overhang
When I was an Altar boy, I used to sit on these benches and make sure the charcoal and incense ready
George Ruostom at his home near Saydeh
with family at Jack & Laila's home
At Baladieh Balcony with cousins Rose & Layal Khnaisser
Lama Katoul, Mary Sawaya, Yousef Halabi, Jamil Eid Khonaisser & I
To see the Festival Performance for Sunday Evening,
Then on to Monday Morning, it was Eid al Raab.
We managed to visit two out of three churches in Dhour...
No, I am not trying to impress how religious we are... At times I may not go to church for a long while, but here in Shweir, we wanted to show equal respect and support to all the churches and it was one of the best ways to meet as many of our relatives and friends.
and then I decided to walk to Shweir ... or considering how many places I planned to visit that afternoon, I thought that I could save some time by hitching a ride along my path...
|First car that passed stopped. It was Mary Moujaes, Waleed's mom, whom I just met at the church earlier. Not only did I get a ride but an invitation to visit and have some coffee and Shraab al Toot.||I met Mary's daughter Nissrine, they showed
me the many art collection that Nissrine and her father Shehadeh produced.
What a gifted & talented family...
by Shehadeh Moujaes
sorry for the reflection
A painting of Shweir
by Shehadeh Moujaes
More info and photos on the way.
|After visiting the home of four cousins and took a picture of Mar Jeryes, I went to Dhour where I ran into George and Nabil... they were going to visit George Moujaes...||
Mar Geryes in late afternoon
George Moujaes produced pictures when he visited me in San Francisco around 1972 including one in a convertible while driving on Golden Gate Bridge.
While I was taking this picture of the guys above, my cousin George Samaha stepped aside to take a call from a friend of his in Saudi Arabia who attended SSS in the 50's and was giving him the identity of the male students in one of the pictures on the Memories web page of Shweir.com... Nabil Matar who provided us with the picture months earlier could mostly remember the names of the females in that picture. I ended up talking with him and writing the missing names. What a coincidence!
That evening I spent with my cousin George Samaha, his wife Mirna, his children Eliza, Salwa and Naseeb.
Sunrise in Shweir
"So", George Matar (GM) asked me a couple of days
after we arrived, "is there something you've been wanting to do now that
you are in Shweir?"
"Of course", I said. "For one, I would like to take pictures of Shweir with the first rays of Sunrise".
GM: "You mean it would be okay with you if I wake you up tomorrow 45 minutes before sunrise so that we can be in position ready to take pictures at sunrise from Tallet Imad?"
"Yes", I said. Little did I know that I would not get to sleep till after 2:00 a.m. the night before. But a promise between George and I is a promise... So, three hours later, George wakes me up and off we go... we were unsuccessful in hitching a ride from Saha towards Kassouff Hotel that early in the morning, so with a brisk walk and a tote bag carrying several cameras and plenty of film we made it just in time to a good vantage point bellow Tallet Imad and here are some of the photos:
|Sunrise peaking from behind
Sanneen inspired this treck
View from Hotel Dhour Choueir
|The following three photos will give you larger pictures with more details... so it will take a few more seconds to download.|
And, what would you do in early morning when you finished taking as many pictures as you can from Tallet Imad? ...
Lets walk to Ain Sindyani and take pictures of the churches and explore the neighborhood...
Click on photo below to go to Ain Sindyani
From Ain Sindyani, we stopped at Alsad and took some pictures... Click here to see Alsad
Then off to check on the grapevine next to our old and empty house.
|And to visit family, neighbors and friends||<< Salwa & Mansour Katoul
>> Here the Abou Nakhle Family
children are Rouba & Riad Beshara
|Adults: L-R: Joseph Matar, Beshara, his parents Evelyn & Jeryes & sister Randa Bou Nakhle|
Painting of Shweir at Bou Nakhle's residence
Lunch at Alsad
Meeting Naamat Al Sabbagh & Family.
|What a wonderful family... with
impressive and gifted talents in the arts and music. We
watched some video clips and listened to some audio of plays and music
that they created and produced. (Mostly performed in Shweir and performed
by Shweirieh). Then we loaded the computer with Shweir.com data and
Family Tree program. Within 15 minutes, they began to create their
family tree which prompted them to call a family elder and learn for the
first time that the name of their great grandmother was Sheherazad
Khneisser. That is the beauty about starting the family tree
ASAP (As Soon As Possible). it prompt family members to get
important information from their elders while they are still around and
with good memory. As soon as you complete the family tree, please
send webmaster a copy via email to post it on Shweir.com.
Congratulation to Farid on his marriage to my cousin's daughter. We would like a full report and some pictures...
From here we attended that evening festivities...
click here or on photo below go to: August 7, Tuesday 10:00 p.m. Saha
On the morning of Wednesday, August 8, I walked to Shweir...
along the way
coffee with my cousins
Samira and Salwa
Then on to a meeting with Adeeb Aoun. This meeting was facilitated by Beshara Abou Nakhle Within minutes of meeting with Adeeb Aoun and his wife, we realized the wealth and depth of information they have.
|Shortly after we began discussion, George and I felt that this is too important that we would rather video tape it.||Where can we get a video on such a short notice...??? I know, the Shwerieh from Newzealand||Janice, has a state of the art digital video camera and they live 200 meters away... Thank you for trusting your camera to us.||
Miriam, Paul, Helen & Janice
|Back into action... ceiling of a room near the entry||
a homemade wheelbarrow
Wine and Arak containers of yesteryears
Here is another look with flash
inscriptions on the center tray are magnified top right
Nibhan Moujaes (1919), Mrs. Aoun's Father
|< < When you enlarge the photo, look closely at the silhouette in the bottom right... you will see the reflection image of his daughter...||
Khalil Aoun Moujaes
Deeb Aoun Moujaes
(Left) and Nimr Aoun Moujaes
original Arzal with Najib Baik
Abou Souwan Family
|The Aoun Moujaes Family
|L 2 R Back row:
Shukrie Aoun Moujaes; Khalil Aoun Moujaes (Adib's dad);
Nassour Aoun Moujaes (abou Deeb); Mariam Moujaes
Front: Rashid; Amra (NZ); Milia
The beginning of land that belong to ancestors of Dr. Klee (Our Honorary Shweirieh in Australia)
After our meeting we went to Dhour with my cousin Beshara Bou Nakhle, we stopped for a bite to eat, and just by accident, we ran into and I met for the first time no other than Rabih Khoury, our Florida tech Guru. Then got back to my hotel room to take a couple of afternoon pictures of the Saha and Al Mukhales.
Then onto the second meeting of Shweir Foundation at HOtel Dhour
and a walk around Saha and infront of Carnavale Restaurant... there we met some locals and some Mughtaribeen... aside from the usual suspects (to borrow a line from Casablanca), in the last picture on the right below there were Grace Zoorob, Ph.D. from New Orleans, LA, USA, Joyce Eid, Montiverdi, Lebanon, Issam Khneisser M.S., Shweir, Jnan BeaKhiri Khouri, Dhour and Doris K. Antoun from Bluefield, VA, USA
Wednesday Morning... August 8, 2001
Sunrise over Saneene
Breakfast at the Matars... first they set it up on a large balcony on top floor with great views... but to make easy access, they moved to the garden...
Hilda's mom & aunt with Al Mukhtaar & webmaster
Text and more photos to come...
After breakfast, we walked to Saha and from there we
hitched a ride to Ain El Assis.
Click here to see the new page of Ain El Assis...
Then from Ain El Assis, we went to Dhour, sat at Dhour Choueir Hotel and recharged our batteries at open air restaurant. Then we met some interesting people and off we went...
|Mansour Bou Nader Moujaes, David Merhi Moujeas, GM, Elias Boutros Sawaya and his nephew, Jeremy Abraham Sawaya||Jeremy told us that he is going to a Music practice at the Shweir High School in Ain el Hanoot... and off we went...||
View of Mar Yohanna from the school
bare bones essentials
practicing in the parking lot
Salah Bou Saab
Khalil Bou Kheir
Celina Abou Saab
Mid Row L2R
Back Row L2R
|After music rehearsal, we went to Mikhail Touma Sawaya's Home to express our condolences about the recent loss of Rosette (Abi Kheir) Sawaya||
At Mikhail Sawaya Home
Raymond Mitri Sawaya,
Mansour Bou Nader Moujaes,
Ayman Jamil Abi Kheir,
Jamil Abi Kheir,
Issam Mikhail Sawaya,
Hayat Hanna Sawaya, Rayes
Elie George Moujaes
|usually, I make a mess trying to pick toot...||well, with the hospitality of the Sawayas and Abi Kheirs, this freshly picked toot dish appeared||
Joseph Nicola Samaha...
wait does the guy in the background look familiar?...
|<< Remember when you used to hear "Laaassteeek" Yousef Al Kindarji... He looks the same||
My cousin, Emile Tabsharani, "Al Harrook"
Can you tell from their expression who won and who lost...?
|Also Al Harrook looks as young as I saw him last, here with his grandson John ibn Waleed Tabsharani||Ya Harrook, I hoped to see you and your family again & see uncle Wadih, but could not extend my stay... Next year, Inshallah|
George Rostoum & Shakeeb Shaya
|Al Mukhtar with friends enjoying a plateful of Karabeej|
Then off to another Eid al Mughtaribeen Nite Click on photo to see more
August 10th, Started the day with some nice Fatayer be Spanegh and mankooshe...
|<< Elias Toufic Elias Hawi with Ahmad Halabi on R and Khalil Sawan on L|
From here my cousin George Saadallah Samaha
took me to see the recently discovered church below the existing Dayr Mar
To see those pictures, click on the photo below v v v
After the Dayr, we went to Alsad Restaurant...
|The George & Mirna Saadallah Samaha Family||
With Nassib, Eliza & Salwa
+ Samir Bou Rizk
At dusk, off to Dhour to attend two
6:00 - 8:00+ p.m.: Village Night and at
8:30 p.m. to after midnight: Video presentation and Hafli bil Saha
Click on the Karket al Arak to go to these events
August 11, Saturday
|this section under construction...||Souad, wife of Moujaes Moujaes and bint Fares Nameh from Ain Sindyaneh|
The trunk of a very old & sad Mulberry tree near Saha...
View of Al Mukhaless and Sanneen from my Hotel room
|Then we went to Hotel Central for Miss
Mughtaribeen Beauty Pageant
With my cousins Wissam & Rose Khnaisser and Nadia (Abou Samra) Abou Rahal
At the end of the Beauty Pageant, below, I saw
Ghanem for a few minutes and took this picture...It is possibly one of the last pictures
before his untimely death...
And then onto a very special Saturday Night Event...
Miss Immigrants Beauty Pageant
To see this great event you need to go to
Hotel Central by clicking on the
photo below v v v
Sunday, August 12
|I had promised to come for lunch at the home
of my cousin Nicola & Samira Shaya Khnaisser
Nicola could not make it since he was still in the Abu Dhabi... I missed seeing him
Steve ibn Mony & Salma Mallah
Patricia & Paul kids of Suzie & Habib Mallah
|Rose, top left with her sisters and the Mallah family... Mony (top) and L 2 R Salma, Suzie and Habib||
Street front of land that we are told belongs to Klee's ancestors.
Saydeh Church in background
From here, I went with my cousin Zeina Shaya/Nasr Khnaisser
and Mary Nasr Khnaisser to
Click here and below on picture to go to the eCommerce page and pictures of Yanabeeh v v v
Aug. 12, Sunday 7:00 p.m. Ain Al Assis
Celebration in remembrance of the Author and Educator Girges Nijm Hammam.
Honoring the Teacher JERJES HAMMAM
Organized by Women’s Renaissance Gathering – Shweir
(Tajamo3 al Nahda al Nisa’ia )
To see this event, you need to go to Ain Al Assis by clicking on the photo below ... v v v
Aug. 13, Monday
Stopped by the Baladieh... saw Wajih Nasr
|W/ Maddool Tabsharani, Wajih Nasr and Aline Abou Saab|
Children's Day: Mini Studio, Dr. Miki, and lots of fun games and sing along...
Although we attended the very beginning of this program, we had to leave about 5:30 to prepare for the Shweir Foundation Second meeting in Shweir... so we were only able to take a few pictures of the young audience...
To see more pictures you need to go to "Eid
web page by clicking on the photo below
v v v
Meanwhile at Hotel Dhour Choueir...
Second Meeting of Shweir Foundation...
|What a great looking, intelligent and ambitious group...||Speak louder, I can't hear you...|
|It sounds like the youngsters in Saha know how to have a heck of a party, and we could hear them via speakers real well... too well in fact that we had to move to a quieter place... the Tantra Room...|
Tantra Room is set up as a disco
-bar - dance partly underground... (much quieter) it is nicely appointed
with cozy booths and decor... whoever chose that name chose well... in
case you are curious, Tantra is a form of yoga practiced for centuries in
the far east and has recently become popular in Hawaii, parts of U.S. and
Europe. It helps bring those in a relationship to a higher level of
communication & intimacy... enough about Tantra... Now, where are the
minutes of that meeting?
OK, if you are also curious, I assure you that no Tantra was practiced during the meeting because many of us were without significant others. Besides, we were under the watchful eye of Helen Ataya and her support team...
Tuesday August 14
Our First Shweir.com Computer workshop... was held at Toufic Moujaes computer center. It is two doors to the left of the drugstore "Saydalieh". The name above the entry says "Sat & Cell" but Toufic had another name in mind... He had a set of 10 computers connected on a local area network with 17" monitors... by the end of August he added a CD burner...
Attended by Jeremy Sawaya, Janice, Helen & Mirriam Ataya, Nancy Korban, Issam Sawaya, Samer Moujaes, Najib Khnaisser and Lama Katoul.
|Lama Katoul demonstrated posting entries on Shweir.com Bulletin Board|
Practicing on individual computers
|And Anwar giving instructions on building your family tree||The owner, Toufic Moujaes is a smoker. He placed this sign >>> on the wall.|
Shortly before the workshop ended, Issam informed us that he arranged for our first meeting with Mayor Shawki Sawaya right after the computer session ended, so we took a brisk walk to the Baladieh (town hall)...
|Shweir.com youngest and oldest active members...||with Mayor Shawki Sawaya and Shweir.com webmaster||The Newzealand contingency with the Mayor|
|Helen Ataya with the guys...
Mayor Shawki Sawaya and the Matar Brothers
|With Mayor's blessings, Lama was assigned to design a banner for Shweir.com||
4 hours later, this banner 5m x 1m was displayed...
Then walking from Baladieh to the Dhour Choueir Hotel, the candidates for Miss Teenage Beauty Pageant were doing a rehearsal. Imagine for a moment this setting: the road connecting the upper part of Dhour with Saha was closed, construction of the runway or catwalk was in full swing in the middle of the closed road, a road construction crew were doing asphalt repair work close by. Yes, with all the distraction taking place around them, these young ladies were focused on doing their part right. At times, they danced not to music, but someone calling the melody out loud... ta da tada daaa..., tee ta dee daaaa... That was the fisrt and only time they practiced on the actual setting, because it did not exist before then. And what a great production and performance that event was... as you will see later.
|By mid afternoon, I got a call from George Matar... "I would like you to meet some people, Can you join at in about 15 minutes? take the covered stairs from the Saha till you get to the upper road ... and found my way to George Bou Rizk's home...||
Note on this 1925 Diploma above the seal..: "Town of Beirut, Syria"
Aug. 14, Tuesday 9:30 p.m. Hotel Dhour Choueir
To see Miss Teenage Beauty Contest you need to go to
"Meet Our Youth" web page by clicking
on the photo below
v v v
|Al Saydeh Maronite Church in Dhour
Priest is Abouna Charbel El Hajj
|> A reminder of the civil
Even the church was not spared
|My cousin Shakeeb Shaya with his son Ziad, both top architects. Ziad graduated #1 in Lebanon||and won many distinguished awards some displayed in photo||Ziad was also a lead coordinator and producer of Eid al Mughtaribeen Festival||Here Ziad Shaya infront of some of his projects||Sneak preview of major upgrade nr Saha- to
pie shaped land between road to Shweir & Mtull.
|Two large posters in his office
caught my eye... old Shweir from 1800's that was enhanced and produced by
and an aerial view. I remember that Lara Shweiry sent us a similar picture, but I could not help take a picture of it.
|Lunch at my cousins Lulu & Riad Khneisser
with the Matars and Hayat Halabi
|On the table was only the appetizers... and the food kept on coming...|
After Lunch, I took some pictures of the lobby of Hotel Dhour Choueir to see them click on the photo below...
Aug. 15, Wednesday 10:00 Shweiry Hafli - Saha
Music of Shweir in Rihbaniyat, Saif oo Terse with the Master Jamil Eid Khonaisser with Foad Halim Sawaya with George Shallita and Emile Eid Khonaisser and co. Dance by Shweiry young ladies.
As you may have surmised by now, since we have more than a thousand pictures that we took in August 2001, it would take a very long time to feature them on one web page, as such, we have been re-assigning photos for certain events to other related web pages that do not have much photos... It is also an indirect way to introduce you to other web pages that you may not otherwise visit.
This evening we are going to take you to a new web page called
"Photos - People".
Click on Bashar Sawaya photo below to go there...
Morning of Thursday, August 16 Computer workshop
|Our attendees included Omar Khneisser, Samer Moujaes, Walid Kablan Dahdouh, Lama Katoul and Phillip Rizk Baraket and his daughters, Grace & Pascale...|
Aug. 16, Thursday 9:00 p.m. Dayr Mar
Poetry night led by the poet Shawki Amar with his gifted poets
To see Poetry and Song, you need to go to Dayr Mar Elias on the "Churches" web page by clicking on photo below v v v
August 17, Friday Morning:
We were invited for breakfast at Salwa Mirhej Home...
|If you have a vegetable or fruit garden and you are invited to someone's home for a meal, you usually bring some of that fruits &/or vegeeis...||
here George Moujaes, Nabil & Saad Mirhej. Nabil brought delicious tomatoes to gain clear passage...
George & Janice Matar at Mirhej's balcony...
|if you look behind them on the top left side and you see a yellow awning in the distance... that is the Matar's building...||Next morning stopped by the Dahdouh Home to take a picture of an old picture...|
August 18, Saturday Morning...
A breakfast gathering sponsored by Shweir Women's Society...
To view photos you need to go to Alsad Restaurant which is on the eCommerce web page by clicking on the photo below...
Aug. 18, Saturday 9:00 p.m. Saha
A Play: Al Shakhess By Rahbany Brothers performed by Bshammoun Club of National Artists
To see this Hafli, you need to go to the "Photos People" web page by clicking on the photo below... v v v
August 19, Sunday
Breakfast at the family of Shweir.com columnist Hilda Touma
If you wonder about that round brown thing in the middle of the table, that is the tastiest Kanafeh be Jiben...
|The view from that vantage point is spectacular... You can see Aley, Bhamdoun...||all the way to the airport &
Hilda's mom Oly gave us a detailed narrative tour of every large and small town you can see... George took a look at the view and the valley or mountain of pine trees and what a fantastic potential for hiking trail... he got excited that he started to map it out in his mind... George.... George... focus, focus...
|And we looked at pictures of some of the Mughtaribeen...|
Time to go to Al Mukhalles Church in Saha to attend my cousin Elie Khnaisser ordination as deacon...
You are all invited. To attend this unique Ordination, you need to go to the "Churches" web page...by clicking on Elie's picture below v v v
By Sunday afternoon, I promised George and Georgette Roustom to attend the celebration of their grandson's baptism at Alsad Restaurant. Congratulations, what a wonderful party...
and then to rush to Saha since I promised Ziad Shaya to be there before 6 p.m. to be one the judges for the last event of the Eid Al Mughtaribeen Festival...
Aug. 19, Sunday 6:00 p.m. Saha
Classic & New Car Show & Competition.
Symbolic and artistic dances and performances
To see the last event of the Festival, you need to go to the "People News" web page by clicking on the photo below v v v
Excerpts from Shweir.com Bulletin Board:
|Author||Topic: Hello From Shweir|
08-20-2001 04:20 AM
Hello everyone... yes we miss you and miss logging on to the web.
We have been so busy during the festival and meeting with many people and organizations that we did not have much time to do as many of the things that we would like to do. full reports will follow later but for now... in short... I am so impressed by the talent and resourcefulness of our people in Dhour Shweir, The events of the Festival were great considering the limited resources they had to work with. it is amazing how they produce such programs, music, art etc...
I was so happy to see so many old friends, cousin and distant
relatives... yet sad to see the economic decline of the town.
Wednesday a.m. will give a demonstration to navigate Shweir.com and
Family Tree programs at the internet cafe in Dhour... at p.m. we will hold
last executive meeting for Shweir Foundation before we go back to our
respective countries. at 9:00 p.m. Nabil and George Matar will host a fun
party at their home.
We all send our love from Shweir.
08-20-2001 07:53 AM
Isn't this historic. Live...direct from Shweir...Anwar speaks to us transmitted via the website he created on a host computer at his home in another country on the other side of the world! Man....you are making history!
What great news...all of it: the banners the events the wheelchairs the opportunities that are opening up. It's just great. We're all there in spirit Congratulations.
|Author||Topic: Your favourite places in or around Shweir|
08-20-2001 02:03 AM
Where are your favourite places in or around Shweir?
Habeeb gave a beautiful description of scenery recently. Others have mentioned the activity of the Saha, or memories of their favourite family churches. Or just sitting under the trees, and EATING .
Where is YOUR favourite place?
What places should be listed in a "Shweir -Places to Visit" list, if there was one?
08-20-2001 04:02 AM
Hello Dr. Klee,
How wonderful of you to keep the ball rolling for Shweir.com.
Many great places... Here are some that I am aware of...
To stay... there is the new first class HOtel Dhour Choueir right at the Saha... very convenient with all the amenities... great restuarant, meeting rooms and large ball room with great views of Saha and mount Sanneen.
Hotel Central started in 1905, that is where they held Ms. Mughtaribeen Pageant and staying there has that feel of nostalgia of old Shweir. Will post more info and photos on the web soon.
Restuarants: Four popular ones... Alsad, Al Yanabeeh, Al Sarfed and Carnavale... also, more photos and info to follow within the next month.
There is so much to tell about our trip and so little time, especially during the festival...
August 20, Monday afternoon...
My cousin Bishara Bou Nakhle took me to Baalbeck... if you would like to see these pictures, you need to go to the "Travels" web page by clicking on the photo below v v v
August 21, Tuesday
Early Morning... I went to the Baladieh trying to pick up Shweir banner to take with us to Beirut where the Lebanese American Association and Wheelchair Foundation are distributing but discovered this beautiful art show that was not well publicized...
To see the Art Show, you need to go to "Baladieh" web page by clicking on photo of paintings below v v v
Then we went to Ekadat al Atibbaa, (Association of Doctors) building in Beirut where the distribution of Wheelchairs was attended by Fouad Malouf, founder of the Lebanese American Association, (LAA) and Nasser Abou Khalil, LAA president, and Dr Fouad Freiha, prominent heart surgeon, distribution was coordinated by May Ofeish. The guest of Honor, Mrs. Lahoud, the First Lady of Lebanon.
The wheelchair distribution was a great success... to see the photos, you need to go to the "Community" web page by clicking on the photo below v v v
August 21 ... Lunch at my cousin Amal Touma in Beirut...
And at 7:00 p.m., we made a presentation at the Nun's Auditorium... Before it began, many helped us pin or tape sample web pages and sample Family Trees to the side walls...
George & Nabil Matar and I gave an overview of how Shweir.com came about, what are our objectives, Mission Statement, achievements and short and long term goals... we encouraged the town's people to log on and spread the word... Lama Katoul gave a speech that she wrote...
The following is a speech written and delivered by Lama Katoul during Shweir.com Open Meeting for the people of Shweir held at the Nun's School Auditorium:
year ago, a handful of men had a dream; they longed for their roots. They
longed for what we know as home. Disregarding time and distance, they
wanted to reach those whom they left behind.
Matar, Nabil Matar, Elie Bou Kheir, Alfred Moujaes and Anwar Kenicer dream was
to bring the Shweirieh together.
not in person then by spirit. What better way to do that than through what
we all know now as World Wide Web. With a lot of commitment and a big
heart, Shweir.com became a reality.
year ago it was just an idea, today it is a fact.
expect Shweir to grow and keep growing.
NO, we are sure that Shweir.com will grow bigger and bigger because what brings us together is our beloved hometown which time and distance can never erase from our hearts. Thank you.
you Lama. Your speech was and is an inspiration to young and old alike.
After the presentation, we cleared up a miscommunication about which evening that we were supposed to visit Adel Abdel Ahad family... as such, we decided to visit them that evening on short notice since we had conflict with other times...
Here Adel, and Elham with their children: Fadi, Hanadi, Joanna, Nadine, Darine and the handsome young one Omar please (did I miss anybody or mispelled a name?) give them all our regards and thank you for your hospitality, That was a very nice evening we spent at your home.
Click on the blue underlined subject to read about it...
Hanadi's report about Poetry and song at Dayr Mar Elias
Hanadi's Shweir.com Guestbook Intro which was copied to "Meet Our Youth" web page
Fadi's report on Miss Lebanon visiting Shweir
Wednesday, August 22, 2001
Subhiyeh at Ain Al Sarfed...
I had to cut my visit to Ain Al Sarfed short since I had a 10:00 Computer workshop #3 in Dhour and I wanted to be there early enough to set up the network and software... so, my cousin took me there just in time... those in attendance included Lama Katoul who was gracious to come again and demonstrate surfing and posting on the Shweir.com web site... Al Mukhtar joined us briefly since he had another commitment, my cousin Rose Khnaisser, Elias Samaha from Jouwaar (Elias is brother to Cynthia Samaha, a rising star... see a nite of poetry and song) and the family of Faris Khnaisser, yes, son of Abou Faris... I did not know that at the time who they were until later... otherwise I would have asked how come Faris was not there... and where was he?
A note from George Matar:
Here are the people in your Digital picture # 93 @ the computer
L 2 R: Back Row: Fouad Khneisser; Lama Khneisser; Elias Samaha Clara Sawaya; Samira Khneisser
Middle Row: Aala Sawaya; Rose Khneisser; Husam Kadura
That afternoon I promised Alexa Kiameh to meet her and take some pictures of Hotel Central ... so if you want to see more about Hotel Central... say hello to Alexa by clicking on the photo below v v v
Near Hotel Central, I spotted this beautiful villa which belongs to Elias Nasr Khonaisser family. It has fantastic views of Shwier, the valley and all the way to Sanneen...
Then onto Dhour Choueir Hotel for the last meeting of Shweir.com/ Foundation in summer 2001
After this meeting, we rushed to Alsad Restaurant to attend a family gathering hosted by George & Mirna Samaha. Attendees included George's sisters Labibeh and Najla and their respective families, George Matar, Antoinette & Jack Khnaisser and extended families...
Thank you George & Mirna for your wonderful hospitality.
And then onto a late party hosted by the Matar Family...
|The setting on the terrace was under grape vines...||And the "L" table was just as long to the right...||Does it look that they were having fun or what...?|
Thursday August 23, 2001
Walked by Saha early morning and saw the Shweir.com Banner proudly displayed above Carnaval Restaurant
Turned around, took a few steps and took this picture of Dhour Choueir Hotel
I met the Matars in Saha and headed to Shweir for breakfast at the home of Adel Khneisser and family...
|Adel pointed out an adjacent home where my family lived while we were building our home.||These fruits were just picked from the garden that morning...||Fruits are so tempting...
Guess whose hand that is?
Thank you for your great hospitality...
< Then & Now >
George & Nabil re-enacting the old scene >>
Em Atef & Abou Faris >>>
Take a closer look at the Antara, do you notice something peculiar???... like a fig tree growing out of that vertical wall two stones above the a3ed??? or that is my imagination?
Em Atef & Abou Faris...
All my life I knew him as Abou Faris. I did not know his real name until I was doing the family tree... his name is Fouad Khneisser
|Abou Faris is like Mr. Shweir. Everyone in town knows Abou Faris, if there was an emergency, Shweir folks called on him. He was someone you can count on... for several decades, he had the biggest, best and only selection of bicycles in town... That's where I learned to ride.||Ground floor Aa3ed
we walked across the Antara to the home of Zeina Nadim Nasr Khneisser who had some home made tempting mhallabieh...
I made a quick visit to my uncle Gibran Halabi... He was such a wonderful man and looked after me and my family with open heart... I am glad I visited him before he passed away... Allah yurhamoh.
Lunch at Naoufa Khneisser Family
Then I hitched a ride with Zeina, the producer and director of Ya Raab Urham, the first movie made in Shweir with all Shweiry actors... What a talented lady... she gave me a ride to Naoufa Khneisser family house where they had lunch for us... my mom Antoinette and my Aunt Mary were there... it was nice to see my good friends and neighbors when I was growing up... Phillipe, Simone, Bahjat, Asteer and their respective families... unfortunately, Ghanem was unable to make it... Although I tried, I am sorry that I did not have an opportunity to visit with him... Allah Yurhamoh... we talked about family tree and compared info about computers.
That afternoon, I found out that it was not possible to extend my stay since all flights the end of August were oversold... Thanks for all the effort made by Toni & Elie Korban, Mary Ofeish and by chance via this effort met over the phone my class mate Johnny Dagher from Mrouj who works for MEA and also tried... what a small world...
By late afternoon, I met some of my friends at Hotel Central for an early evening get together... and took the last pictures in Shweir for this summer...
Next morning, my cousin Bishara Abou Nakhle picked me up to go to the airport... he was right on time and so calm and thoughtful... and a great help... and as soon as we loaded the car and started to drive, he asked me if I had my passport with me?... Oh, my passport... it is still at the front desk at the hotel... His question was so timely...in my rush to take care of administrative and last minute things, the hotel forgot to give it back to me and I forgot to check... Thanks cousin...
At the airport, they were oversold by 50 to 90 people, depending on who you talked to... even with confirmed reservation, I could not get on the morning flight and had to wait for the afternoon flight to Paris...
Although I left, my mother, Antoinette stayed for an extra two weeks... here are some pictures she promised her friends to post...
Introducing Christopher Henry Fouad Abou Saab
|Hello everyone... My name is Christopher. On left, I am with my proud grandparents Fouad & Wajiha Abou Saab and on right I am with my uncle Jack Abou Saab. Daddy Henry and Mommy Rita were not here because they went to buy diapers... what are diapers???|
Please excuse the dust...
More to come...
The following will be inserted in the chronological order... when we get to that date...
From: Matar, George [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2001 1:18 PM
Subject: 3 weeks is not enough
this message on the Web page but this morning I was asked to email it to my
extensive list since many of you don't check the web page regularly...I hope
that will change soon since we are doing so many exciting things.
Between Anwar and Myself we took more than 1200 pictures that, we will post some selective ones for your enjoyment over the next few months... That should be a good reason to keep checking the page, and if you have not signed the guestbook, This is really a good time to do it. And if you have not tried the BB, what are you waiting for?
Let me make Three quick announcements before I post the message:
* Congratulations to Tony Khalil Moujaes on the birth of his beautiful Daughter Gabriella last month, Tony please send me all the good information so I can officially send it out
* Gaby Mirei Moujaes is recovering from a minor operation that took place last week. He is doing fine.
* I personally want to apologize to Elias Sawaya for being unable to plan a get together for a bite or two.... Also I am sure I promised others and just could not make it Sorry, catch you next year....
* For the record I gained 12 pounds on this vacation. So you see I do have a good excuse for missing food invitations... Everywhere The food was so delicious
Like the the "Love Story" them song says: "Where do I begin..."
So much to tell you, Although Habib, Klee, Ghassan and the rest of you described so well/ You where so accurate, but imagining eating a mankooshi and actually sinking your teeth into one are two completely different events.
Jet lag is on right now, I am still sleepy, but I will give you a super saturated summary for all the good stuff that will be coming your way over the next few months with lots and lots of pictures.
1. The sky is not falling in Shweir
2. The generation that was born and raised during the war in Shweir is terrific. My hat's off to the parents and teachers.
3. The environmental in our Village is making a come back
4. The residential sector, (buildings) is "MOSTLY" good+
5. The commercial, except for very few exceptions is super poor
6. Dhour Shweir IS still beautiful where ever you are, except.... The
Main roads, The ex Farris Mushriq Blvd (was renamed) definitely requires a major and I mean a MAJOR Face lift. We should have some big debates on this one.
7. The Infrastructure (water, electricity,etc...) is Poor, for sure.
8. The Ex SSS has never looked so beautiful, Mrs. Kassab and her Staff are doing a super job renovating the old school..We will have some mutual events next year.
9. The never changing Sarfad, as good as ever
10. Our Family of Shweir.com has brought a new sense of optimism to the village, stick around some wonderful things will be happening.
11. The Wheelchairs arrived and already are being utilized by the three Charity organizations.
12. The Beit al Shaykhokha project broke ground.
13. The Mughtaribeen did participate in the Eid
14. Everybody's sweetheart Helena Ataya (90+ years), from New Zealand was the Cinderela of the Festival
15. Lama Katul (13 years) our youngest Shweir.com popular writer makes an impact.
16. The Class of 1962 adopted the Mukhtar (Thanks Guys). They will be celebrating their 40th reunion next year in Shweir.
17. Eid al Mughtaribeen will be celebrating it's official 40th anniversary next year, it is going to be real big, preparations are already on their way.....It will not be big with out you. I will be pressing you hard on this...Mark you Calendars for next year (Do it now, and start budgeting for it).
18. Volunteers from the Scouts and Isaaf will be doing a house to house census to build a "World Wide" directory of ALL the Shweirieh... more to come on this. Habeeb J. Moujaes and Adel Y. Halabi will be Championing this project
19. We have Many local Shwierieh that will be Championing several on going projects, more to come on this.
I am getting sleepy now, the last thing on my mind right now is what Isis said in one of the posting....."I will be in Shweir next year" I think you should too
Your Mukhtar bil
Mahjar (Who's freshly back from Shweir)