Originally from Batroun (North of Lebanon), Mariana settled in June in the heart of the Lebanese capital, in the Achrafieh district, not far from the café where she works as a full-time waitress. “My fixed hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., six days a week, and my monthly salary is around 5.5 million Lebanese pounds,” she explains. Rent, equivalent to 171.9 dollars at the market rate of 32,000 pounds, which varies according to the 5-day weeks that Mariana takes once every three weeks to find her family in Batroun, tips and overtime. “Extras” that she has been accumulating lately to save up before the start of the academic year in September, when she may have to reduce her workday in order to attend her classes.
Being independent in Beirut, Mariana has chosen it and assumes it. But this choice comes at a cost, especially in these times of crisis. “My monthly rent is one million pounds”, she announces and specifies that she is “lucky” because her landlord pays for her internet subscription, electricity and water. The cost of the generator, on the other hand, is paid by Mariana, but she, who does not stay at home much, only uses “the refrigerator”. So, in order not to pay five amps that she would not serve, the young Ella asked the owner of the generator to provide her with only half of it for 1.2 million pounds / month.
Unfortunately, “the fridge is giving up, so I avoid shopping.” Mariana therefore receives home-delivered meals for “around £400,000 a week”, she estimates. A sum for food, probably too small, which she covers in particular thanks to tips that can sometimes reach 600,000 pounds a week. “Most of our clients are foreigners or “dollarized” Lebanese. Regular clientele in this neighborhood, where Mariana also does everything on foot. “I don’t spend anything on transportation,” says the young woman. When she wants to go to Batroun, her father comes looking for her. There, she Mariana fills up. “Everything is much cheaper than in Beirut. Household or hygiene products, I buy them there. I easily save £500,000 there compared to the same purchases in Beirut. She estimates her daily consumer spending at around £2,500,000 per month. Finally, on her phone, Mariana spends about 250,000 pounds, according to the new telecommunications rate based on the dollar / pound rate of the Banque du Liban platform. Sayrafa? she thinks she understands.
Today, Mariana’s goal is to save £100,000 a month. “I would very much like to be able to go shopping again,” she says, however, before adding: “It will be soon, I hope. Meanwhile, the future student knows what awaits her in September: the university tuition fees, the strengthening of her internet and generator subscriptions to be able to study, as well as the cost of transportation to get to the university.
Mariana is not yet twenty years old. It will be her birthday in a few months. If all goes well, she will be on the benches of the Lebanese University to get a degree in Italian literature. “I have no intention of going to Italy. I chose this theme out of passion rather than the idea of a specific outlet. I don’t project myself into the future. This “whatever happens” that the young woman repeats is undoubtedly the reflection of a personal philosophy, based on carpe diem and family reasons, but it also serves as a mirror to a Lebanese context that lends itself less and less to considering the long term. future term.
Originally from Batroun (North of Lebanon), Mariana settled in June in the heart of the Lebanese capital, in the Achrafieh district, not far from the café where she works as a full-time waitress. “My fixed hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., six days a week, and my monthly salary is around 5.5 million Lebanese pounds,”…