I’m Back in Lebanon. That totally deserves a post on its own but let’s talk about that later.
Today’s post is about something I’d never thought I’d write about in Lebanon. It is about public parks. One in particular. The newly established kids’ park and garden in Byblos.
You see, I was born and raised in a small coastal town next to Byblos. And as long as I remember, my parents would take us there, they would park the car somewhere near the fortress and we’d walk and play on the pier, climb on rocks on the sandy beach, and maybe go on a 30-minute boat ride.
When I grew older, it became a personal breathing space. I’d go walk along its narrow streets admiring its old houses and its colorful old souk.
I’ve grown to love this ancient city full of history.
So you can imagine my pride and happiness when three years ago I came home to see a vibrant public park. Although small by any standard, it provided a much needed green space for kids and adults alike.
All through my pregnancy (the second better half of it:)), it became the refuge for my daily 1-hour walk. And after my girl was born, it became our place for her stroller ride, and when she grew up a bit, it saw her first toboggan slide.
So when my mum told me today, that she came from a walk in that park and that she used its gym equipment, I had to go and see for myself what she was talking about.
I was so excited until I saw the big Snickers sign on each and every one of these machines. And then my heart sank.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love that Byblos residents can now enjoy this free outdoor gym. I love that Lebanese can now (maybe) appreciate green areas and get moving.
So for those reasons and more, I’m not going to be the one to spoil the party.
I’m not going to speak my mind about the food industry’s sponsorship and free gifts program.
I’m not going to mention the food industry’s way of blaming obesity on lack of exercise and not on the junk they sell.
I’m not going to say that these same foods they are selling and marketing are partly responsible for childhood obesity and diabetes.
I’m not going to say that what Mars corporation* paid for these equipment is nothing compared to the free advertisements they are getting when kids and their parents walk inside the park.
So as much as it pains me and for the sake of more physical activity, I’m going to look the other way from that Snickers sign.
And next time you’re in Byblos and you’re in the mood for an easy workout while your kids play around, go benefit from these free equipment but you better not have a Snickers bar afterwards.
*parent company of Snickers