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It is always difficult to turn one’s back to the sea — unless it’s in search of a better view of it. The coastal road just after the southern city of Saida (Sidon) leads you to Gladys’ home. As you drive along, buildings give way to hills. Olive and orange trees appear, forming a natural guard of honor that leads the way to a tiny white house. It will not take long for it to feel like your very own home, but you don’t know that yet.
We could visit Gladys for unrestricted sea views from the rooftop, to gaze at surrounding mountains, to read in the shade of a fig tree, or to move closer to the beaches of South Lebanon in Sidon and Tyre. But those reasons are not enough. We visit Gladys’ for Gladys herself and her two daughters, Nancy and Nathalie. We met the trio when they had just begun renovating their home in the mountains. At L'Hôte Libanais, we saw them work as architects, construction workers, gardeners, plumbers, experts in wood restoration… Whatever the role, the womens’ energy did not waver: the home in Jinjleya is their baby, and visitors are its godfathers and mothers.
Gladys’ home is surrounded by olive groves and an orchard that appear to be extensions of the kitchen. The four rooms in the home are distributed around a common, brightly lit space where we may find you, fingers delightfully dipping in jars, secretly indulging in one of Gladys’ specialty, homemade concoctions.
— Photographs by Leia Gorra (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), Saad Zaal Salloum (1, 10) and Tony Yammine (portrait) · Words by Orphée Haddad.