This summer, I will work in Mauritania as a State Department intern. When I tell people this, they’re bewildered. Many times, they can’t tell if it’s a city or a country. Assuming they’ve even heard of the place, many can’t locate it on a map. Naming or pronouncing the capital city of Nouakchott? Not a chance.
This post was originally published as an article in the German-language newspaper Deutsche Rundschau.
Lulu Annous and I met our junior year of high school, after my father’s job brought our family to northern Lebanon for the 2010-2011 academic year. Due to our shared love of journalism and quirky sense of humor, we clicked immediately and became close friends. After my family left Lebanon, we remained in contact, sharing stories about graduation and college on different sides of the world. While my life has been comfortable and stable, though, the effects of the Syrian civil war, which began shortly after I left Lebanon, have changed Lulu’s life. In a recent Skype conversation, Lulu, a 19-year-old college Sunni student from Tripoli, Lebanon, described to me the distressing changes in her hometown since the start of the turmoil in Syria.