Nourishing our Need for Human Connection: BY Houda Harb, Sydney, Australia
We all know what it means to nourish the body but what does it mean to nourish the mind? Nourishing the body by taking in food is important for human survival. Nourishing our need for human connection is just as important. How does one get this nourishment since you cannot select it from the menu when ordering your burger and chips or buy it at the supermarket when shopping for your groceries?
Recently, it has struck me just how important human connections are in our lives. A global pandemic has helped that realization along since it has forced us to adapt to social distancing as the new norm. However, what has really opened up my eyes to this vital human need is the journey I am on with Dr. Anthony Rahayel, passionate food blogger, two-time World Blogger Awards winner, successful YouTuber, content creator & holder of a long list of other impressive titles & achievements.
While Anthony has long loved showcasing food, he also has an insatiable appetite for connecting people. His journey began 10 years ago, connecting villages together, youth to their roots, and the Diaspora to their homeland. Throughout this journey, he has often reminded us that food is one of those special things in life that has the ability to bring people together from all over. He has also reminded us that we can’t appreciate what we have if we don’t go out and seek it and if we don’t share it by connecting with others.
As an individual, Anthony is one of those people who understand the power of human connections. Look a little deeper and you will see someone who is a natural leader. You will also see a visionary with a compelling message behind his ideas and vision. Put these things together and you have a leader who has a knack for connecting people together around shared ideas in a collaborative environment capable of making vision reality.
I have been lucky to connect with many wonderful new and inspiring people as a result of following Anthony on his mission and becoming one of his YouTube channel moderators. I think I would go so far as to say, i have established more meaningful connections with the people I have met through Anthony than I perhaps have in my entire professional and personal lives put together! Granted, that might be a slight exaggeration, however, what there is no denying, is that these new connections are true and meaningful human connections. And I suspect they will be lasting ones.
This mission is not just about connecting you and me together. It is also about connecting us with the people Anthony dubs as heroes that we would never have known about otherwise. These are people like the quietly humble Abou Chadi in Jal El Dib, the dear and wonderful old baker Krikor in Baskinta, the lovely Em Bachir in Faraya, the always-humorous and witty chef Mazen & his brother Firas in Byblos, the ever-positive Midos in Saida, the inspiring Abou Daoud in Jdaideh, to name but a few. It does not stop there. There are endless stories of Lebanese people doing great things who are determined to propel ahead and be the change they desire in their world - Dr. Marc Beyrouthy, chefs Alan Geaam (Michelin Star), Charbel Mhanna, Avo Haladjian and so many more names like them, far too many to list here. Anthony is bringing us all together to share in this common identity, from across the street, from across villages, and from across the seas.
This is a positive tribe. Connecting with one another makes us happier. When we are happier we can give back to others, engage more with people around us, spread positivity and increase our own personal happiness in the process – and so this happiness & positivity cycle keeps continuing. Human connections could not be more vital for a better world. We have to keep this wheel turning!
A message to Anthony: No one does what you do anywhere near as well as you do it. You work carefully & patiently like a thread artist creating his art piece, connecting all the pins to one other with his fine thread. The thread is the common identity that binds us all as Lebanese. The individual pins are you and me & every one of us around the world. The artist is Anthony Rahayel & the artwork is called “Lebanon - a7la ballad bel 3alam”.
Finally, my message to all of you: Let’s take on this artwork as our mission too and add more pins to the project board beyond the quarter of a million pins already connected by Anthony. Let’s round each other up on social media, let’s share the life out of Anthony’s YouTube channel content & encourage everyone around us to subscribe. This is a human connection of and for Lebanese unlike any we have known before because of the compelling message behind it that encourages us to connect in this meaningful way & be the positive change we desire for a better tomorrow.
Written by Houda Harb