Westtown School, Chestnut Hill, and Pennswood Village Meetings

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

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By David Gray

I arrived in Philadelphia at about 4:00 in the afternoon on Saturday the 15th of October after a 14 hour flight from Doha preceded by a 3 hour flight from Beirut. I managed to keep going for the rest of the day much to my surprise but slept like a log at night. When I woke up in the morning I discovered myself in a beautiful area of clapperboard houses amidst woodland and spacious gardens. Everything was very green and cool as well compared to Lebanon.  I had a busy day, first going to Westtown school, the oldest Quaker school in the USA founded in 1769, where I attended the Quaker meeting after which I made my first presentation on the state of Lebanon and the needs of Brummana High School. The presentation was well received and was followed by lunch at the school with a number of Quakers who had attended the meeting.

Then in the afternoon, we drove for about an hour and reached a place called Chestnut Hill, a wealthy area of Pennsylvania where I made a similar presentation to the Quaker Meeting there and spent a couple of hours with the people who attended. Then it was on to Pennswood village, a large and spacious retirement home which was unlike anything I have ever seen in my life and where I was hosted most hospitably by a couple who are both Quakers and are in charge of organising talks in the home.  I gave the talk in a magnificent hall with every technological accoutrement you could wish for.  In my presentations I used a clip from a recent American News film on Lebanon, a PowerPoint of the school and testimonials which focus on raising funds for financial aid and the teachers for teachers’ campaign.

I was also very well received there and was pleased to see the number of people taking away pledge forms.  I  had many excellent questions from genuinely engaged audiences on all three occasions. I think  I have managed to enlighten people over here  on the real state of Lebanon, on the needs of the country and particularly on the needs of the school, those who attend it and those who work in it.  I am hopeful that these presentations will generate the support which the school so badly needs.