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This is the diary of the life of Jacob Habib El Khouri
Elishaha Fakhry, from Becharri, Mt. Lebanon. Since he was born
on the 18th August 1876, he used to try to avoid any harm or trouble
to anyone. At the age of seven his Grandfather (a Priest) Elishah
took him to school and started to teach him the Assurian language
(the language that Jesus Christ used) and to give him a good
foundation on the general knowledge of education. So he forbid him
to play with any other children as he was afraid that it would hinder
him from wanting to study. He used to take him to church every week
and train him to be an Altar Boy.

I was very keen to study for the Priesthood and because of my
close relation with my Grandfather and under his tuition I became
top of my class at school. My teacher, a Monk from Saint Alisha,
his name was Romonas and he used to favour me more than anyone else
and whenever he had to leave the room he used to leave me in charge
of the class. Romonas was a very pious man and took after his father
who was a respected and well known man in the district. At the age
of 12 years I finished my first stage of schooling and my father
left for Australia. When he returned he was very pleased at my
progress at school, so he encouraged me to learn the French language.
At this time my teacher was Brother Francis from the [Monastery] of
St. Antiona, he could take many languages fluently and he used to
teach all those boys who wanted to be Altar Boys. Brother Francis
had been teaching in Becharri for three years before I became his
pupil. After one year and nine months I learnt all I could from him
and I was fifteen years old at this time. When my father came back
from Australia he [bought] an Olive Grove in Asnoon El Zawiet. When
the season came to pick the olives I went with my family and my
mother and I became very sick and we stayed in that condition for
six months. Everyone came to the conclusion that it was the change
of climate. When I got better I began to change my mind about
carrying on with my studies and besides I was busy doing other things.
At the age of nineteen my Grandfather became anxious for me to continue
with my studies and as I had never refused any of his wishes, I
promised him I would continue again. After one month I began to
translate Assurian into Arabic and six months later I started to study
for the Priesthood. There were two other students, Botrus Akhuri
Antwoon Took and Hunna Moosey Hanooch Kayrooz. The three of us
studied for one full year and I was of the opinion that a Priest

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should devote all his time to being a Priest only and this was a
very heavy burden without having to shoulder the responsibilities
of a wife and family. A little later I decided not to become a
Priest as I was beginning to go out with boys of my own age group
and we began frequenting places of amusement and go to parties where
we would sing and dance. I used to go out with Munsure Usoof Michael
and David, his brother and Hunna Bechori, Usoof Hunna Maroon and
Moosey El Rudder Maroon and Usoof El Musht Rahme. After a while we
all decided to go to Beirut. While we were at Batroon we knew a
man by the name of Shahwaan, he had a boarding house and that same
man used to come to [Becharri] very often and stay with us for a week
or ten days at least and we used to welcome him and treat him as one
of the family. Now, believe it or not, but when I stayed with him
that night, he charged me for sleeping under his veranda, although
we did not enter his house and I had my sleeping bag. This really
upset me as we never ever charged him when he stayed at our place
and even fed him. I wrote to my father and told him of my experience.
When we were in Beirut my people heard that I was frequenting places
that I should not have gone to. They wrote to me and asked me to
come back to Becharri, as they were looking for a suitable wife for
me. When I arrived back in Becharri they introduced me to a girl
whose father was Hunna Arida and these people had a wonderful
reputation for doing good work in charity and no one had an ill word
to say about them. Two weeks later I got married and the festivities
lasted fifteen days and everyone was invited. The man who performed
the marriage ceremony was my Grandfather and that was on Sunday the
7th July 1897. When my Grandfather finished the wedding ceremony he
congratulated me and said, "I hope that all these people present will
congratulate me soon for having a grandson for a Priest soon." But
I had already decided not to become a Priest and I had already made
up my mind to go somewhere overseas.

I discussed this matter with my wife and we decided to go to
New Zealand as it was an Island under the British and as we had an
Uncle whose name was Tunoos El Khouri we thought it the best place to
go. We heard that he was doing very well over there and that it was
a wonderful place for us to make a new start in a new country.

When my Grandfather heard that we were leaving the country he
became very angry and would not speak to me but I had made up my
mind and I wanted to go and make my fortune then come back to Becharri.
We left on the 25th July [1897]. We caught the coach in Becharri for
Beirut and when we got to Jbeil it was raining very hard and never
stopped until we got to Beirut.

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When we arrived in Beirut we found a room and paid 1½ Reil
a week. We stayed in that room three weeks and every day we went
down to the port to find out when the boat would arrive. The man
who was arranging our passage, his name was Hussien Karero, after
waiting all this time, this man came to our room one day and said
the boat has arrived and he charged us £3.0s0d per person for our
trip to Port Said. We paid him the money and he rowed us out to the
boat and when we got aboard we all waved good-bye to him. Then when
we met the Captain he wanted our fare and we told him we paid
Hussien Karero, but the Captain wanted to see our receipt which we
did not get from Karero, so the Captain said we would have to pay
up and the fare was only half a pound which was the full fare to

We stayed on the ship for two days and one night until we
reached Port Said, where we had to pay one Egyptian Pound per person.
When we were in Port Said, we all went down to the wharf, all of our
group from Becharri and from Deir Ahmar and from Yohshoush to forget
our worries and we were all feeling so miserable so to brighten up
ourselves we started to sing and dance and some of us would recite
poetry. When it came to my turn to sing, I told them, "My friends,
I'll tell you a story. We have three girls and I'm the only boy.
When I was three years old, I stayed with my Grandparents in Beirut
for five years and my father and mother were in Becharri and some-
times I used to ask myself, why am I so far away from my father and
mother and staying with my Grandfather? I used to think my parents
didn't care for me so I used to cry. But I was wrong as my parents
had a high regard for me and wanted me to take after my Grandfather,
who was a very holy man and he was of the Saint Simon [Monastery]. He
used to visit Balbeek once every three years and used to celebrate the
mass there as he was the senior Priest of that Order." When my friends
at the wharf hear my poetry thus far, they begged me to continue with
the rest of my life story, so I continued and told them what I have
already written in this diary. I also told them how my mother cried
and she did not want me to leave. She said, "You are my only child,
you are my favourite, please don't go." But I told her it would be
better for me to go to New Zealand where it would be possible for me
to earn some money and it would not be long before I would return
and that it was impossible to earn money in Becharri. I told her
not to worry as I would come back to her soon.

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We left Beirut in an Austrian boat and when we got to Egypt
the Customs searched every item in our baggage, but all they could
find were lemons and dried apricots as we heard that they were good
for sea sickness.

After I finished my poetry to our group on the wharf everyone
felt a lot better and our hopes were very high again. That night
the ship left for Australia after being in Egypt for fifteen hours.
This boat was a German one and it was very big and if you stood on
the front of this boat you could not see the other end. It took us
seven hours to pass through the Suez Canal and when we got to the
open sea, we found out that all the passengers were German and we
could not understand a word they said and they could not understand
us. After six days on this ship, we struck very rough seas and waves
as high as mountains and we all thought the boat was going to sink.
But God is good. Our ship arrived in Aden and from there we went to
Adelaide and then on to Melbourne, Australia. When we got to
Melbourne we didn't know where we were to go or what we were going
to do as we [could] not speak the language. But our luck had at last
changed for the good, because we had some people from Yahashoush and
amongst them was a man who had been to Melbourne before and had gone
back to Lebanon for a trip and was now coming back again. His name
was Najeeb and as he was with us he took us to see Mr. Lutoof and a
Mr. [Kalill] Fakhri, who had a big warehouse, three stories high.
These people had a wonderful reputation and they really looked after
us very well. We told them our destination was New Zealand, so
they sent one of their men to get our tickets to New Zealand. This
man came back and said we could not go to New Zealand until we could
read and write a few words of the English language. In this case
we had no alternative but to stay in Melbourne for the time being.
So they advised me to get a special suitcase made so as to put goods
in and go into the country and sell them.

I did what they advised me to do and I went to a Chinaman and
ordered a case to be made. I gave him a few shillings in advance
and told him I would pay the full amount when it was finished.

It was a wonderful feeling for me when finally I was able to
fill it with shirts, socks and many other things and really get
started because it was a dream come true, just to be able to buy
and sell. At last I was in business. Mr. Lutoof and Kalill El
Fakhry gave me all the goods I needed and the name of the street

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and number on a piece of paper in case I got lost and all I'd
need to do would be to show it to people and they could direct me
to their place again. The first words they taught me to say were
these; "Buy something lady" and "Thank you lady". At ten o'clock
in the morning I got ready for business, so I carried my case and
off I went to sell in very high hopes.

While I was hawking, a Policeman came up to me and asked me if
I had a licence. I said "No." He asked me my address and I gave him
the piece of paper with [the] address on it. This Policeman ordered me to
go back to Lutoofs Place and for them to get me a licence and he would
check on me later on. As soon as he went I started to knock on doors
and start selling again. You can't imagine my joy when I earned
my first five shillings in all my life. In the evening when it was
getting dark and it was time for me to go back to Lutoofs where I
was staying, I got lost and I started to walk from Street to Street,
but they all looked the same to me. As I had given my address to the
Policeman I had no way of getting people to direct me to Lutoofs.
I was really lost. Later on in the evening I saw a large factory with
a lawn in the front and as I was so tired I decided to have a rest
there and think of what I am going to do next as it was now dark. I
wasn't afraid because I heard that in this Country there were no
robbers or killers, so I sat down and lay my head on my case to have
a little sleep as I was so tired and worried. A man came to me at
that moment and wanted to see what I had in my case and I told him
I had things to sell, so I opened my case and showed him all I had.
He said to wait there and he would be back very soon to buy something
and at this time it was midnight exactly. About fifteen minutes later
this man came back with four other men and they all wanted to see
what I had for sale. When I opened the case (I had a large belt
attached to the case as this made it easier to carry) I put the
belt around my neck and opened it up as the belt supported the case
as I held it open in front of me. One of the men tried to take the
case away from me but couldn't on account of the belt, but another
man got a knife and cut the belt and the case fell to the ground and
while I was fighting four of them the fifth man ran off with the case.
We must have been fighting for about twenty minutes and at this time
I became very angry and kicked one of them and he fell to the ground,
but the other three really beat me up. I wasn't worried about how
hurt I was, I was more worried about my case and as I had nothing
to fight with, only my hands, I began to really get mad at them
and when they saw how wild I was, they ran away. By this time it was
one o'clock and all the lights in the Street went out and I couldn't

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see where I was nor could I see where the men went. I started to
yell out Police, Police but I could not see anyone. After some
time I did see a Policeman and I ran up to him and started to tell
him what had happened but he couldn't understand me. I tried to
explain by actions and he said something to me but I could not
understand him so we parted. If only I could find my way to Lutoofs.
I kept on going from Street to Street until dawn. I am angry and
very hungry. Later on when the people started to come out of their
homes to go to work, I noticed two men talking so I went very close
to them to hear if they were talking in a language I could understand
but when they saw me so close and listening, they thought I was
spying on them and got angry at me. They wanted to know what I
wanted, but it did not take them long to see that I was a foreigner
in a strange country who could not speak their language. They asked
me if I could speak French. I told them I could and we became friends.
I asked them if they knew any Syrians as I was lost. True enough they
took me to the house of Lutoofs which was very close by and they were
very well known people.

I told the Lutoofs of my experience and they took me to the
Police station and we made a complaint but we never heard any more
about it. I decided to get another case made exactly like the one
that was stolen and did. I stayed eight months hawking around
Melbourne and one day decided to go to the zoo and see all the animals.
What took my fancy the most was a [serpent] more than four feet long
and one foot thick. I sat under a tree and began to compose a poem.

(In this poem he described his trip from Lebanon and how he was
seasick for three days and not being able to eat and only
being able to see the sky and sea. How wonderful he felt when
he put his foot on solid ground in Australia. His hopes of
seeing his sister and her husband and family, but all in vain
and his disappointment and having no one to meet him in
Melbourne. Also his praise of the Lutoofs for being so good
to him and his wife which he will never forget as long as he

The first three months in Melbourne I hardly covered my expenses.
In the year 1898 on the 5th day of June, God gave me a daughter
who we called Nazle, then we decided to go to New Zealand.

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At this time I knew a man called Michael Akouri and another
man who had a daughter whose name was Amelia.

When I arrived in Dunedin the first thing I did was to enquire
about my Uncle Anthony and also my cousin Saleem. Saleem was my
greatest friend and when I saw them I felt as if it was the first time
my soul joined my body. Eight months later Saleem married Michael
Akouri's daughter Saada and we all had a wonderful time at the
wedding celebrations.

After we were settled I started to go out hawking again, but at
this time there was a slump in the country and while away I would
always write to my father and explain things to him and I always
wrote to my wife as this was the only way of me forgetting my worries.

When I got back home I did not see Saleem for a few days and I
asked my wife where he was and how he was doing. She answered and
said he was up country hawking, but the truth was he was very sick
in hospital in Timaru. Next time I went up country hawking, Saleem,
my best friend, died. They sent me a telegram to come home urgently.
I came back and when I saw Saada her eyes were very red as though she
had been crying. I asked after Saleem and her answer was a loud
wailing and then I was told he had died. I cannot explain how heart-
broken I was. I asked how long he had been dead and she said six
weeks. We mourned after him for many weeks and I could not bring
myself to go hawking as I was really miserable at losing my one
true friend. Many times I asked God why he didn't take me also. I
was so downhearted, the only consolation I got in my life is my wife.
She never asks questions and never tells anyone our troubles, but only
tells me to have patience and God is good. In the year 1900, God gave
me another daughter and as soon as she was born things seem to get
better. With all my troubles and joys I never forgot my friends,
Parents, relations and my language. I used to think if only I could
sit in the shade of the Cedars of Lebanon and smell the Cedars and
feel the breeze that is worth all the money in the world. How many
times I wish I had a pair of wings just to fly there or if I could
swim just to see my Mother and Father and just to see my Grandfather
with his long white beard covering the whole of his chest. On the
21st May 1902, God gave me a boy and when he was two months old he
became seriously ill. The Doctor used to visit him every day and
he told us to keep all the windows and doors shut and to keep the fire
burning all the time and we had to buy thick woollen underclothing
for him and he had to have a lot of medicine. The Doctor used to
charge me ten shillings for every visit and we had to do exactly

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what the Doctor told us to do and at the age of two years and nine
months he started to get better and from then on he needed no more
medicine. This cost me a lot of money when I could at least afford
it, but when he started to walk for the first time, I forgot how much
it cost me and I thanked God for sparing him. I would like to ask
you God for just one more thing, send me and my family back to
Lebanon to see my parents as I would like to tell them what happened
to me while I was away and how I have to carry this large case full
of goods and how my back and arms ache and how the people say; "We
don't want anything today" or "Come back some other time" or "We have
too many children and not enough money." These [incidents] make me
sick and then I begin to think I should start another business, such
as a grocery or fruit and vegetable shop or anything else but not

One night while many of our people were at my house, I told them
I would like to start a shop and everyone agreed it would be a good
idea. I promised I would charge them a little cheaper than any other
shop. I told them that other people would respect them more if our
own people traded amongst ourselves and helped one another, but if
strangers saw the Lebanese people buying from any other shop they will
think I must be charging too high a price and even they would not
patronise my shop. Everyone agreed I should start such a shop. This
meeting took place on a Sunday night and on a Monday morning, a week
after the [anniversary] of the Resurrection of Christ. In 1904, I [bought]
a house with a shop in the front. The house number was 63. It was
three stories high. There were six flats in this building. I went to
the warehouse, but they told me they only supplied business people.
I told them I had [bought] a shop and they then agreed to supply me.
It took me a week to fit out and stock up the shop and the next week
I was ready for business. So here at last I am in my shop dealing with
my people, most of them married with large families and they must
spend a lot of money to feed these families, but they were not earning
enough. When winter came that year we had heavy rain and a lot of
snow and it was the worst and coldest since I arrived in New Zealand.
The amount of sheep that died was as much as the whole amount we have
in all Lebanon and Syria. Because of this bad weather, most of the
Lebanese people could not [go] out to work, but they had a little
money in the bank, but did not want to draw it out. It was against
their principles to draw money out, so they started to book up all
that they wanted from me. They told me they would send me the money
when they started hawking again and as I trusted them I agreed.

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Three months later I began to find it difficult to keep my shop
stocked as no one has kept his promise to pay me and I have to pay
cash for my goods, so I said to myself I will just wait and see how
long it would be before they pay me.

I waited from week to week and from month to month, but only a
few made an effort to pay small amounts and all made excuses and yet
most of them are my relations and could well afford to pay me in full.
Every house owed me from £4 to £7. As no one will pay me I am going to
go bankrupt. I decided to change my attitude and be more firmer and
ask them for my money, but they all said they were sorry and their
own businesses were not so good. Things stayed in this position for
another year and a half. At the back of my shop was a spare room, so
I put in some chairs and a table and we used to play euchre and the
losers used to pay the winners one shilling and I used to charge for
coffee. The card room began to boom but the shop kept going backwards.
If the people won they would praise me, but the losers would curse me.
Funny thing about our people, they could have a thousand pounds in
the bank and many did, but they will never carry more than a pound in
their pockets. Generally speaking, I got on very well with everyone
except one man by the name of Hunna Mansoor. He used to buy from the
other shops, but if he forgot to buy something he would come to my
shop and buy it only on a Wednesday afternoon or a Sunday when all the
shops were closed. The most he would ever buy was only about six
pence or a shilling. Another old lady from Husroon, who was about
75 years old had a son, Boolis and she used to tell him not to come
into my shop to play cards and drink coffee as she was afraid he may
lose. She threatened that if she saw him in the shop, she would not
leave him a penny in her will. About this time I owed Hunna Mansoor
about three pounds and he used to come in and buy a little of this
and a little of that until he got his three pounds back and from then
on I never saw him in my shop again. However, when I used to go
hawking I used to spend about thirty or forty pounds every trip in
his shop and I always paid cash. He used to come into my shop to
play cards, but if we needed any groceries, he would get up and go
to the other shops and buy from them. I used to take stock of my
shop every three months and every time I was on the losing side. When
I was one year in the shop God gave me another boy. Because I could
not carry on in the shop under these conditions I decided to go back
to hawking. I looked for a woman who would look after my wife and
children. As luck would have it we had a very good winter that year.
On my first trip I took the train for one hundred and twenty miles
and when I arrived at my destination it was quite dark and too late

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to start working so I stayed in a hotel that night. Next morning
I had breakfast and paid one shilling for my bed and seven pence for
my breakfast and off I went to work. What a beautiful morning it
was, sunny and very warm until mid-day, when I saw black clouds in
the sky and then it started to rain so heavy I could not work that
day. Generally speaking for the next two weeks I sold more than
I thought it possible to sell. One day I decided to visit a place
where once before I had done very well. On my way I came on some men
who were working, they were digging into a hill, to make a roadway
I think. These people lived in small huts [beside] where they were
working and when they got so far they moved the huts to be close to
their work. I thought I'd go and see if they needed anything.
Believe it or not they made me very welcome and asked me to have
lunch with them and they found a place for me to put my case and come
and sit with them, which I did. After lunch they asked me to show
them what I had to sell. This was on a Friday and it was their pay
day and it was raining very heavy. They [bought] such a lot of goods
from me that I thought it impossible to sell on a good sunny day.
I had a very successful day and above all this they asked me to stay
the night and to go on my business the next day. I got a chance to
meet the Foreman that night and he used to go and visit his wife
and family every Saturday, so he [bought] a lot of things from me and
that made it even better. Because it was so rainy they invited me
to stay with them till the next day and I accepted their invitation.

On the Sunday I went to another place about five miles away, but
the cook there said as it is a Sunday you will not be able to do any
business so you had better stay with us until Monday and they were all
very friendly, but I did not like to impose on them, but the cook said
not to be so [independent] as we are all human beings. I will never
forget how wonderful these people were to me as long as I live. I
had breakfast in the morning and said Good bye to them.

At this stage the sun was shining but the ground was very wet
from the heavy rain the day before. I walked about two miles when I
came to a house, but on the last occasion I called there, there was
no one there. I asked myself, should I go in again, perhaps there
might be some people there now. I finally decided to go, so I went
to the back door and knocked gently and suddenly I saw the lady and
she said, "What do you want?" I said, "Good morning, Lady," and she said
"What do you want?" I said I'm passing through and I thought I'd call

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in and see if you needed anything. She said, "No Thank you." I
said "It won't cost you anything just to have a look at what I've
got, you may need something." She said, "I know all about you
Syrians, you carry a lot [of] things that are useless." I told her I
had shirts, socks, handkerchief, bangles and many other things. She
said, "If you pass here again, don't bother to call, as I've heard
how you people, being Mohammedans, kill the Christians and you are
poor people and not good characters and there is no justice in your
Country." I told her we had the best Country in the world and even
God chose our Country to have his son born there. After a long
argument with her she said she was sorry for running down my country
and after hearing my side of the story she said she would like to
see our Country. After I had argued from 10 a.m. until 12 a.m.,
she was glad to get rid of me. I said Good By but she didn't even
offer me a cup of tea. I was miles away from anywhere and very
hungry. I walked for about half a mile until I came to a river and
sat on the side of the bridge. I had some bread and cheese, I ate
them and lit a cigarette and started to compose some poetry. Because
I now have a better knowledge of the language and more experience of
hawking the business has now improved a hundred fold. I used to go
up country for forty days at a time and every time I do better so I
have decided to get rid of the shop.

When I got back to Dunedin I found very little in the shop and
three pounds in cash. I did not renew the stock so I decided to sell
what was left at sale price and that was in 1906. I sold most of
the goods and what was left I took to the Auction Room. All the
people from Becharri bought twice as much for half the price. Still
Hunna Mansoor didn't buy a thing from me. I got £20. 1s. 8d. from
the sale at Auction. From that time on I was looking for a comfortable
house to live in and I rented a house for five pounds a week. As it
was a big house, Mr. Michael Hunna Akouri asked me if he could share
the house and pay half the rent and have two rooms and each
one of us had our own conveniences. In the same week he moved in.

About this time, I had one barrel of beer, one barrel of wine
and three bottles of whiskey. The wine was very hard to get in these
days. As this was too much for me to keep, I decided to sell it. I
started to sell it at double the price, because most of the people
wanted it when the hotels were closed. In this way I made up for
what I had lost in the shop. One night some of the young Lebanese
boys came and said we are going to have a party at my house, I was

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pleased. One of the men was Saleem Hunna Boolis who was a very
likeable fellow and liked parties. Twenty minutes after we started
more Lebanese people kept on coming in until we had a large crowd
of men and women, so we started a Dubky. The [women] in one room and
the men in another room. Tobia Isaac and myself served out the
drinks. We cooked a whole side of mutton and what a night we had
as everyone was half drunk and very happy. I thought if only I had
my Mother and Father here I would be the happiest man in the world.
About 1 a.m. we ran out of drink and everyone was tired after all the
dancing and singing, so we sat down and everyone then wanted me to
recite poetry. I agreed with pleasure.

(The poetry was composed on the spot and described his pleasure
at having these people here, but only one thing was lacking and
that was my parents were so far away and if they were here his
happiness would be complete.)

By the time I finished my poetry it was three o'clock in the
morning and everyone was in a merry mood. Usoof Waked from Zahlee
and Boolis Ferris and his sister from Husroon kept on talking about
that evening for a long, long time.

As I said before Michael Akouri who shared the house with me,
well we decided from now on to go hawking together. This was on a
Saturday and we agreed to leave on the Monday.

On the Sunday, I went up to the Botanical Gardens (as I often
used to) which is a very large place, about two miles square. It had
such beautiful flowers, both in summer and winter and there were
beautiful trees all over it. During the holiday and especially on a
Sunday you will always find about five thousand people there. I sat
by the side of the creek and the ducks came very close to me expecting
me to feed them but I had nothing to feed them with. Whikle I sat
there I fell asleep and dreamt I was in my beloved Country again.
When I awoke I was so disappointed I was still here. I started to
compose more poetry about what had happened to me since I left Lebanon.
When I finished I went to the nearest hotel and asked for a drink.
I enquired what time tea would be ready. They said in half an hour.
After waiting this long I again asked how long it would be before
tea and again they said another half hour. After waiting another
half hour I decided to catch a tram and in a quarter of an hour I
was home. My wife and family were waiting for me so we sat down and

Page 13

I had tea at home. As Michael Akouri and I decided to go up
country on the Monday, at the last moment I found I could not go as
I had some unexpected business which I had to attend to at once.
So he left on the Monday and I followed on the Tuesday. We worked for
nearly seven months together and as he was such a nice man I really
enjoyed his Company very much. Later on as I was in Dunedin I made
up my mind to again go into business, when I received a telegram from
a Doctor. He had got my address from Michael Akouri and he stated
that Michael was very sick, so I decided I must go and see him as he
was about one hundred and thirty miles away. Next day while I was
getting ready to go I received another telegram saying he was
dangerously ill and was in the intensive ward in hospital. When I
got this telegram I had to tell his sister Saada and we all rushed
to catch the express train. We were lucky to get there in time to
see him alive. He died one hour after we arrived. As he was a very
close friend of mine, I sent telegrams to Dunedin to all our people
to come to Timaru for the funeral and a large crowd came to it. We
buried him next to his brother-in-law, Saleem. After his death about
three weeks later, his wife decided to get a smaller place to live in
as this house had too many memories of her deceased husband. I
decided to move also and this house stayed empty a very long time.
A month passed by and I had to go back to my work. I caught the train
and went one hundred and forty-two miles from Dunedin. I arrived at
night and as usual stayed at a hotel. Business started to get better
and better because I now could speak the language a lot better and I
had more experience at my business. For example, I was waiting for
a train and I saw a man and I spoke to him and told him my business,
he asked me if I had any watches for sale and I showed him a rolled
gold watch and chain with a green-stone on the chain. He liked it
very much and asked the price, I told him three pounds and he gave
me four pounds and told me to give him something else to make up the
other pound. I gave him some handkerchiefs and other things and he
was very pleased and said he was going to see his [fianceé] as he had
not seen her for two weeks. I still had three quarters of an hour
before my train was due so I went to the beach and sat down. I had
some bread and cheese and some cakes with raisins in them. I enjoyed
my meal very much and thanked God for such a beautiful day. By this
time there wasn't much time to wait for the train. I bought a ticket
and my luck was really in as I had the whole carriage to myself, so
I put my hand on my cheek and started to sing, I was so happy and
I thanked God for my happiness.