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Lebanon - Diaspora - Hapiness Is Coming Home
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g***@bigpond.com
2017-07-03 06:14:47 UTC
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Happiness is coming home 
Sandra Simpson follows the journey around the world of Leila Ganim
Leila Ganim would climb the hills around Jerusalem to catch a glimpse of
Lebanon. The distant sight of the land of her parents’ birth always
brought a tear to her eye.
“I asked many times for permission to visit, but it was always refused,”
she says. “They just said, ‘there’s a war on,’ and that was that. I was
so disappointed that I was so close, yet couldn’t get there.”
She and her husband Louis Fleyfel retired to Ghineh, inland from
Jounieh, five years ago. The village is where her mother and Fleyfel’s
father, who were siblings, were born. “I remember dad telling us about
the mountains here and mum would always have a little cry,” Ganim says.
“Now I look at those same mountains every day.”
Ganim’s parents met and married in Egypt and had the first of their 12
children there before emigrating to Australia late last century. Ganim,
the youngest of the family, says the destination was something of a
surprise to her father.
“He thought he was going to Canada,” she explains. “But once he had that
sorted out, he decided to settle in Sydney. The ship docked first in
Melbourne to let emigrants off and dad was leaning over the rail when he
heard someone calling his name.
“A Mr. Khalil he’d known from Lebanon was on the dock. He shouted for
him to get off, saying that he would take care of dad and his family.
Dad rushed down to mum and the baby and they got packed up and got off.”
Khalil, who owned a clothing factory, was as good as his word ­ he took
the couple to his home in Geelong, 160 kilometers southwest of
Melbourne, later helping them find an apartment, and offered Michael
Ganim a job selling clothing door to door.
“It must have been very hard being a hawker without knowing the
language,” Ganim says. “But he soon made enough money to buy a cart and
two horses to get around. He was out in Geelong one day when he saw a
grocery shop with a nice big living premises attached which backed on to
a beachside park. He asked them if they wanted to sell. That’s the house
where I was born.”
Her father, and later his children, developed the grocery business into
a shipping suppliers, as well as supplying hotels and other large
institutions.
Ganim trained as a nurse at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne,
although she had to convince her father and brothers of her career
choice. “They didn’t want me washing men and handling bedpans, but I had
nursed mum through a long illness and knew it was what I wanted to do,”
she says. “Dad finally agreed but only if I went and trained with the
nuns.”
With predictions of war in the air and impressed by army nurses she had
met, Ganim put her name down for a call-up in the event of hostilities ­
“I wouldn’t let my family stop me.” She served as captain with a nursing
unit in both Palestine and Papua New Guinea, working on a hospital ship,
in a hospital converted from a school and in a field tent hospital.
“In Palestine we would go down and meet the ships and organize transfer
to the hospital to try and minimize the pain of handling,” she recalls.
“Most of our boys came to us from France via Greece and Cyprus. They’d
be with us for a while and then sent home.”
When the Pacific War moved into Papua New Guinea, Ganim was transferred
there on a hospital ship which traveled via Egypt, giving her a chance
to meet an aunt and her family, and which took a zig-zag route across
the Indian Ocean to try and avoid Japanese submarines.
Among those Ganim cared for in the PNG tent hospital was a ward of
Japanese PoWs. “One of them said to me, ‘We’re losing the war, but we’ll
have Australia eventually’. They were our enemies and prisoners, but we
couldn’t let them lay down and die,” she says. “When you’re nursing it
doesn’t matter who or what the patients are. Sick people are to be
looked after and many of those men made offers of hospitality for after
the war.”
When peace came, Ganim took advantage of an army retraining scheme to
attend chiropody school, eventually opening her own business in Geelong
on a property inherited from her father.
Meanwhile, Louis Fleyfel, who had worked for the Free French Service in
Beirut during the war, had written to his cousins in Australia inquiring
about emigration and work possibilities. “I’d worked in the mechanical
workshop, I’d been an inspector of ammunition and I’d been a messenger
for the secret service,” he says, “but I could see that I’d be without a
job when the French Army finally left.”
Ganim recalls discussing with an older sister the merits of bringing out
this unknown cousin. “We thought it would be good to bring someone from
mum’s family ­ we’d already had a cousin come out from dad’s side,” she
says.
He arrived in Australia on Feb. 28, 1949. Although he spoke no English
and Leila speaks only “household” Arabic, they were married March 28.
“To fall in love doesn’t need words,” he says.
Fleyfel started work on Ford car company’s production line “to be
independent,” according to his wife, but then spotted a business
opportunity and had enough savings to buy a sandwich shop situated
between two movie theaters.
“I thought he might have been taking a risk, that shop was always packed
with theater-goers,” says Ganim, who gave up her own business to help
her husband. “He’s never looked back.”
As the owners of ­ among other acclaimed restaurants in Melbourne ­ Le
Chateau, Fleyfel and his wife were more than happy to play host to
various dignitaries throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including Britain’s
Princess Anne, then-Soviet Foreign Minister Edward Sheverdnadzhe,
millionaire American businessman Henry Ford II, Brazilian entertainer
Sergio Mendes, West Indies cricketing great Sir Garfield Sobers and
English actor Patrick McNee.
“The restaurant was written up all over the world,” Ganim says. “It was
something really different for Melbourne then. Louis furnished it all
with antiques.”
Fleyfel served as honorary consul for Lebanon for 12 years and president
of the Victoria branch of the Lebanese World Union for nine years. He
holds the Order of Australia medal and the Order of the Cedar.
Like so many children of emigrants, Ganim feels comfortable calling
Lebanon home. “I’m more Australian than Lebanese, that’s true,” she
says. “After all, I was born there and I like to go and mix with the
Aussies when I can.
“But in a lot of ways this does feel like I’ve come home. It’s the way
mum and dad brought me up ­ to love Lebanon. I’m happy to be back where
my parents came from.”
g***@bigpond.com
2017-07-03 06:36:11 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Happiness is coming home 
Sandra Simpson follows the journey around the world of Leila Ganim
Leila Ganim would climb the hills around Jerusalem to catch a glimpse of
Lebanon. The distant sight of the land of her parents’ birth always
brought a tear to her eye.
“I asked many times for permission to visit, but it was always refused,”
she says. “They just said, ‘there’s a war on,’ and that was that. I was
so disappointed that I was so close, yet couldn’t get there.”
She and her husband Louis Fleyfel retired to Ghineh, inland from
Jounieh, five years ago. The village is where her mother and Fleyfel’s
father, who were siblings, were born. “I remember dad telling us about
the mountains here and mum would always have a little cry,” Ganim says.
“Now I look at those same mountains every day.”
Ganim’s parents met and married in Egypt and had the first of their 12
children there before emigrating to Australia late last century. Ganim,
the youngest of the family, says the destination was something of a
surprise to her father.
“He thought he was going to Canada,” she explains. “But once he had that
sorted out, he decided to settle in Sydney. The ship docked first in
Melbourne to let emigrants off and dad was leaning over the rail when he
heard someone calling his name.
“A Mr. Khalil he’d known from Lebanon was on the dock. He shouted for
him to get off, saying that he would take care of dad and his family.
Dad rushed down to mum and the baby and they got packed up and got off.”
Khalil, who owned a clothing factory, was as good as his word ­ he took
the couple to his home in Geelong, 160 kilometers southwest of
Melbourne, later helping them find an apartment, and offered Michael
Ganim a job selling clothing door to door.
“It must have been very hard being a hawker without knowing the
language,” Ganim says. “But he soon made enough money to buy a cart and
two horses to get around. He was out in Geelong one day when he saw a
grocery shop with a nice big living premises attached which backed on to
a beachside park. He asked them if they wanted to sell. That’s the house
where I was born.”
Her father, and later his children, developed the grocery business into
a shipping suppliers, as well as supplying hotels and other large
institutions.
Ganim trained as a nurse at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne,
although she had to convince her father and brothers of her career
choice. “They didn’t want me washing men and handling bedpans, but I had
nursed mum through a long illness and knew it was what I wanted to do,”
she says. “Dad finally agreed but only if I went and trained with the
nuns.”
With predictions of war in the air and impressed by army nurses she had
met, Ganim put her name down for a call-up in the event of hostilities ­
“I wouldn’t let my family stop me.” She served as captain with a nursing
unit in both Palestine and Papua New Guinea, working on a hospital ship,
in a hospital converted from a school and in a field tent hospital.
“In Palestine we would go down and meet the ships and organize transfer
to the hospital to try and minimize the pain of handling,” she recalls.
“Most of our boys came to us from France via Greece and Cyprus. They’d
be with us for a while and then sent home.”
When the Pacific War moved into Papua New Guinea, Ganim was transferred
there on a hospital ship which traveled via Egypt, giving her a chance
to meet an aunt and her family, and which took a zig-zag route across
the Indian Ocean to try and avoid Japanese submarines.
Among those Ganim cared for in the PNG tent hospital was a ward of
Japanese PoWs. “One of them said to me, ‘We’re losing the war, but we’ll
have Australia eventually’. They were our enemies and prisoners, but we
couldn’t let them lay down and die,” she says. “When you’re nursing it
doesn’t matter who or what the patients are. Sick people are to be
looked after and many of those men made offers of hospitality for after
the war.”
When peace came, Ganim took advantage of an army retraining scheme to
attend chiropody school, eventually opening her own business in Geelong
on a property inherited from her father.
Meanwhile, Louis Fleyfel, who had worked for the Free French Service in
Beirut during the war, had written to his cousins in Australia inquiring
about emigration and work possibilities. “I’d worked in the mechanical
workshop, I’d been an inspector of ammunition and I’d been a messenger
for the secret service,” he says, “but I could see that I’d be without a
job when the French Army finally left.”
Ganim recalls discussing with an older sister the merits of bringing out
this unknown cousin. “We thought it would be good to bring someone from
mum’s family ­ we’d already had a cousin come out from dad’s side,” she
says.
He arrived in Australia on Feb. 28, 1949. Although he spoke no English
and Leila speaks only “household” Arabic, they were married March 28.
“To fall in love doesn’t need words,” he says.
Fleyfel started work on Ford car company’s production line “to be
independent,” according to his wife, but then spotted a business
opportunity and had enough savings to buy a sandwich shop situated
between two movie theaters.
“I thought he might have been taking a risk, that shop was always packed
with theater-goers,” says Ganim, who gave up her own business to help
her husband. “He’s never looked back.”
As the owners of ­ among other acclaimed restaurants in Melbourne ­ Le
Chateau, Fleyfel and his wife were more than happy to play host to
various dignitaries throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including Britain’s
Princess Anne, then-Soviet Foreign Minister Edward Sheverdnadzhe,
millionaire American businessman Henry Ford II, Brazilian entertainer
Sergio Mendes, West Indies cricketing great Sir Garfield Sobers and
English actor Patrick McNee.
“The restaurant was written up all over the world,” Ganim says. “It was
something really different for Melbourne then. Louis furnished it all
with antiques.”
Fleyfel served as honorary consul for Lebanon for 12 years and president
of the Victoria branch of the Lebanese World Union for nine years. He
holds the Order of Australia medal and the Order of the Cedar.
Like so many children of emigrants, Ganim feels comfortable calling
Lebanon home. “I’m more Australian than Lebanese, that’s true,” she
says. “After all, I was born there and I like to go and mix with the
Aussies when I can.
“But in a lot of ways this does feel like I’ve come home. It’s the way
mum and dad brought me up ­ to love Lebanon. I’m happy to be back where
my parents came from.”
Hi Sandra Simpson
My son sent this to me , i am one of Leila Ganim's [nee Fleyfel] nephews Adrian Ganim, i live at geelong, My aunt deceased in the 1990's and is buried at Jdaidei Ghazir at the Fleyfel family burial location, i had a pilgrimage there in 2015. As far as i know i am the only from her family to visit there along with my son . I have sent this to my Uncle Louis Fleyfel in Melbourne , What a wonderful surprise for me , i never knew information existed about her outside the family. Leila Started me off in a career in hospitality and i was quite close to her , She was a sister to my late father William Ganim.If you have any further information could you kindly send it to me .my email: ***@bigpond .com Kind Regards Adrian Ganim
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