In the absence of electricity, Beirut cafes turn into “offices and libraries”

After the availability of electricity became limited to one hour per day, and in the best case, two hours, the quality of the Internet connection declined, at a time when people needed it more, given the reliance of many on remote work during the Corona pandemic..

Inside a café in Badaro Street in the east of the capital Beirut, chargers for phones and computers mix with cups, cups and notebooks on the wide tables, and quiet music and Fairuz songs hang over the place, which is closer to the atmosphere of a university library than a cafe, to become a place that the Lebanese accept more and more to escape the repercussions of the economic crisis.

The 22-year-old student, Ghinwa, visits the place every day, with her book bag and computer attached, taking one corner of the café as a place to read and do her daily work remotely, for the benefit of non-governmental organizations.

“I was forced to do so because of the almost complete random power outage,” Ghinwa told Sky News Arabia.

For her part, Nihal, the manager of a café on the street adjacent to the American University of Beirut, told Sky News Arabia: “Most of the students come daily to the café at varying times, due to its cultural specificity and its proximity to libraries.”

She continues: “Maybe we need more references and books, at a time when Lebanon has lost many cultural places“.

A few steps away on Hamra Street, there is a café whose shelves are filled with books, after its owner divided it into wooden corners and put spacers between the chairs, to ensure the calm required of the café-goers..

Naim, an employee in a company, a student and a university researcher says: “Here I do my research and communicate with the company at my workplace, because I can’t do all this at home because of the lack of electricity when I want, in addition to the service that gives me a cup of coffee and food if it calls.” the need”.

harbor neighbor

A worker in a café on Mar Mikhael Street explained to “Sky News Arabia,” saying: “We are here next to the port of Beirut. We stopped for a year because of the works that followed the ominous explosion of the port, and then we returned, but the character of the place changed due to the electricity crisis and the successive crises.”

And she added, “During the crisis and the pandemic, customers have dedicated the bulk of their time in the café to work, and prefer the place that provides them with the greatest amount of comfort, so the management decided to allocate a study hall, which includes large tables “.

The student, Fida, who was sitting in one of the Hamra Street cafes, said: “I can see everything from where I am sitting, and watch the passersby on the street, because I am in a place where there is privacy and allows me to work and produce at the same time.”.

For his part, Ahmed describes himself as “a socially open person who loves to meet and talk to people”, so he frequents such cafes, while Joseph says that resorting to cafes today “reflects the ability of the Lebanese to withstand and continue.”

He continues: “We are trying to escape from the difficult situation, by leaving our homes, meeting people, and working from the cafe, as it is the only outlet currently.”

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