It has been a frustrating year for olive farmers. Changes in climate patterns have resulted in poor yields.
This is the time of the year to harvest the promising yield on which partisans rely as their main source of income. “People hurried to the groves to harvest the yield as fast as they could in fear of another attack.” Shared Rabih, a former colleague at THIMAR – LSESD. This is how people in these Southern border villages, like Der Mimas, live in constant fear. They have no choice but to go and harvest the olives, which for many is their only source of income.
On a working day, Rabih’s father and brother, like all other farmers, were in the field. As they tried to finish their work, a sense of worry loomed over them, prompting them to leave early. By around 2:30 p.m., the groves were empty. Shortly after people had left their fields, attacks from both sides of the borders occurred, and fires ravaged parts of the olive groves, resulting in significant losses.
What could have been a horrific scenario if people were still in the field has now become a moment to thank God for His protection; there were no injuries. “The losses of trees, buildings, or even groves are insignificant in the face of losing souls,” Rabih expressed.
The promising yield turned out to be a disappointment as it was ruined and wasted. The few harvests that were saved are insufficient to meet the need. He added: “It takes around 10 years for an olive tree to grow and start bearing fruit,” emphasizing the gravity of the losses that the families in the South are enduring. The damages are not only short-term but also long-term. For years to come, people will need to find alternative resources to rely on, especially besides cultivation, particularly olives.
Citizens have fled their villages due to the constant and never-ending fear they live in. However, many are obliged to stay in the villages to protect their lands and to continue surviving with what little they have left.
With a heavy heart, Rabih shared, “I pray for the people in my village to experience the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. This peace goes beyond the mere absence of conflict; it is the peace of God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ.”
We also pray for all the displaced people who are seeking refuge, leaving behind their homes along with their cherished memories, possessions, and loved ones.