Mission: Impossible – Push Your Stroller Down Those Streets If You Can

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Yesterday, I shot one more scene in my Mission: Impossible movie. The movie stars my toddler, me, and my toddler’s stroller and it follows our adventures around the pot-holed and broken pavements of Hamra. Good times. This episode features my husband.

Pushing a stroller down a street in Beirut involves so many levels of difficulty, the experience is just like a Super Mario game (yeah, I’m an 80’s kid, get over it).

As we leave the house, we have to maneuver the stroller down a 30 cm high pavement with my poor girl having to endure the bumpy ride.

one could break a leg if they jumped off of this height

Just when you take a deep breath as you finish Level 1, you arrive at Level 2 which is even harder because you encounter two consecutive hurdles in the form of a high-pavement island. You have to jump across the island and save the princess. Mind you, while pushing the stroller.

Level 3 is tricky, because when you think that the high-pavement level is over, you discover that there is a twist at the end: there are two steps that you have to sort of roll the stroller down over without upsetting the baby too much. Tricky.

the tricky level 3

At level 4, where miraculously, the pavement is made low to allow for strollers to glide, one encounters a block; a car is parked all across that space dedicated to ‘wheeled’ citizens. If you find another space to access the pavement you get a bonus point.

increasingly difficult levels

We arrive at the bank which is our destination at Level 5, only to encounter a major obstacle: 6 steps of a sharp incline. My husband flexes his muscles and carries the stroller, baby and all, up the steps. He needs a fuel replenishment after this exercise.

hmm..any shortcuts for this level?

At Level 6 on our way back, and just when we’re thinking that this side of the pavement is better than the other side, we encounter the final challenge: the huge pot hole. The pavement is broken due to some mysterious “construction” project that was never completed. We maneuver around it and gain more points for being so dexterous.

and the final challenge

And now the million dollar question: if perfectly healthy and capable people struggle so much to push a stroller down a pavement on one of Beirut’s prestigious streets, then how do disabled people manage to get around? The obvious answer is that they just don’t. This is why we almost never see any disabled people anywhere in public, they simply can’t exist in such a crippling public space. Pun, unfortunately, intended.

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2 responses »

  1. Thanks hon for sharing your thoughts, I think you should write a nice letter to the news paper, the city and maybe to Maktabi – give him a big break from his ridiculous Gerry Springer topics for a change. Make a difference hon and I will support you.

    Isn’t there an association for the disabled to speak out to demand facilities to make people’s lives easier? The city “Baladiyi” should be responsible for such facilities including a parking spot with “Only with Permit” sign like we have here. When I moved to this neighbourhood I called the city and asked for the pavement which was 1 inch high to be redone. They made the effort to send a crew to the sight to investigate and within 3 business days I got a response, mind you they said they can’t do anything about it because the cement cutting machine they use is designed to leave 1 inch edge, however, I was pleased to know that they took action.

    See, I’d love to visit with Sal unfortunately, the broken pavements, bumpy roads, unavailable parking lots and the countless stairs everywhere are the preventing us from going home.
    So there! You said it.. can you make a difference?
    Use your students to help out. It takes only one step… anyway, it’s just a suggeston 🙂

    keep up with the mission!
    good luck
    Joujou with love

  2. Joujou, I’m glad you like this post; in fact, I had Sal in mind when I wrote it. This blog is my voice out in the world since basically none of the venue you mentioned listen to you if you talk to them. This is a very basisc issue of human rights, but unfortunately, this country doesn’t have time for the basics. Those in power are too busy fighting over the cheese to pay attention to the real needs of the citizens. In all cases, I will try to post it in other places to give this topic as much exposure as possible.

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