On Living a Vegetarian Life

Dogs in Beit Shabab Village, Lebanon

I’ve been living for a month now in a very tiny village called Qalhat [Qal7at] in northern Lebanon. It is so tiny that it doesn’t have a single veggies store. And we’re talking about a village here, but no veggies stores. Kinda interesting yet frustrating especially for a vegetarian person like me. There are only two mini-markets and no other stores are found. I kid you not. But that’s because right next to this village there’s another village called Fee’ [Fee3] and it has almost everything. And that’s where I buy my veggies from.

Villages get bigger as you go north till you get to Amioun which is kind of a small city with very beautiful buildings and squares. As a bougie urban person like myself, I was happy to finally see some cafes in Amioun.  But I especially loved Afsadeek [3afsadeeq] village because of its many olive trees distributed along its roads. These villages and many more villages constitute what it’s called Koura district, and it is located between Beirut and Tripoli.

A Horse in Palmyra, Syria

When I first moved in to this three-bedrooms apartment, it was so dirty and you can see at each corner a big spider. This apartment is so full of insects that no matter how hard I try to kill them they just keep coming back. So now I am feeding the ants and trying to ignore the spider in my bathroom and the other one in my kitchen hoping they’ll be killing some mosquitoes soon. Me hoping too that the two spiders don’t get married.

A Horse in Palmyra, Syria

During the day the only voices I hear are a hen going mad as he’s clucking, cheeps bleating, and sometimes I hear dogs barking. When I go to the balcony I see four kittens playing with each other and hovering around their mom. Their father is a big black cat and no one pays him any attention. And he’s the only cat who meows.

At night, and if my annoying male neighbors are not laughing or making any noise, you can hear cockroachian hip hop, but mostly you hear dogs barking.

So imagine my life at this village. You can hardly hear any voices but of these animals and insects. The only humans I see are the mini-markets’ owners whom are both women and their husbands, along with my building’s doorkeeper and his lovely wife and children.

I think all this made me watch NAT GEO WILD all day. This amazing channel made me appreciate insects a lot and I am in the process of thinking of a way to get rid of the insects without killing or harming them. But seriously, that’s a lot of effort.

A Camel in Palmyra, Syria

In any case, I’ve been feeding the four kitten for two weeks now. They’ve started to gather when they see me coming and going assuming this is their food time. I am feeding them once every two days because that’s all I can afford right now. The youngest kitten looks like my cat Katyusha, and he’s shy and weak but and I think the food made him now stronger. The mother doesn’t like the dry cat food I buy, she still eats from trash cans.

I am used to feeding cats, it’s not difficult because they cannot harm you nor it is expensive and especially in Syria. In Damascus, I always buy Hana mortadella which costs 1$ and it can feed two cats.

My Sweet Loving katyusha :*

But last night I fed a stray dog and it’s the first time I do that. I am not afraid of tamed dogs obviously, but it’s another case with stray dogs. I have this idea that if they’re scared they might attack you and if they like you they might jump on you transmitting all their diseases. It took me a week to prepare myself to feed a stray dog last night.

I went to the mini-market and bought dogs food; a can of meat. I added veggies, rice, pasta , boiled egg and bread to it and I put them all in a plastic bag. I also prepared a can full of water then I went downstairs.

I saw a female dog eating the cats’ food I left this morning in the other building’s garden. She saw me and tried to escape but I called her to come and eat her food which she did after five minutes of staring at and hovering around me.

I left the bag near her and went back to my building watching. She came and ate most of the food in the bag then took off. A white dog was nearby but he took off too when he saw me.

I read somewhere on the internet that one shouldn’t feed street cats and dogs a lot or else it will be harder for them to find food for themselves later on when you leave.

I am leaving at the end of September and I guess I should be very careful on how to feed the kittens and the dogs. Perhaps once or twice every week. Don’t know.

I am just very happy that I fed the female stray dog last night, perhaps her friends will be coming for food later on, and then I’ll be befriending for the first time in my life a gang of stray dogs.

Who would’ve guessed.

15 thoughts on “On Living a Vegetarian Life

  1. Pingback: The Heritage Cook
  2. Jillian C. York says:

    Katyusha is so adorable!

    You know, I wish you’d been in Chile with us; the stray dogs there are so urbanized and domesticized, some of them even wear sweaters. A Chilean explained to me that they really are reliant on humans for food, but because it’s a city, there’s plenty of waste as well.

  3. Karin says:

    That is such a nice description of your life in this winzy village – I absolutely love it! I don’t consider myself a scaredy-cat but I don’t think I would have the guts to feed stray dogs …. that would freak me out!

    Once you’ll leave this place – where will go go? Back to Damascus? How about your thesis? Are you done? What is the topic? Just being nosey …
    I hope I’ll be able to start mine soon!

    Big hug from Albuquerque, New Mexico!

    • Razan says:

      Karin, yes will get back to Damascus and start looking for a job. My thesis is coming along just fine, thanks for asking.

      I am sure you can do it, Karin :) Good luck with that!

      New Mexico, eh? Sounds interesting, wanna go there sometime!


  4. TQ says:

    Awesome as usual. you have a great voice. always a delight to go on these journeys with you, even if it’s through a simple gchat status message ;) xoxox

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