Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Reunion of Ataya's Family



© Fayrouz Hancock

Dr. Raja H. Ataya reunites with his daughter Ramona.


On Tuesday night, Mark and I went to Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston for the reunion of the Ataya family. You may remember from my earlier post, Ataya's wife and daughter were vacationing in Lebanon when all hell broke between Israel and Hizbollah. Since their story was published in The Beaumont Enterprise, many people worked to secure their safe return to Beaumont.

The Ataya ladies traveled to Lebanon with Dr. Ataya's cousin Nada Abousaad and her daughters. Nada's husband, Neim Abousaad arrived to the airport with beautiful roses for each member of the two families who returned safely to the States. It was very touching. The ladies arrived around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday and were exhausted.

I talked today with Dr. Ataya. He was happy with the second article that ran in today's newspaper. He also wanted to clarify that his wife and daughter were very grateful for all the hard work done by people on the ground in Lebanon. Mrs. Ataya said the Marines did an excellent job in evacuating the American citizens from Lebanon. She also said the embassy didn't relay evacuation information well enough. The people on the phone were the Lebanese personnel. Mrs. Ataya couldn't reach the American personnel at the embassy. From what I gathered, there was some kind of miscommunication between the evacuees and the local personnel at the American embassy. Other than that, the family is really grateful for everyone's help with the evacuation. You can read the evacuation story here.

Here are some pictures I took at the airport.



© Fayrouz Hancock

Neim Abousaad of Clear Lake, Texas brought a rose for each family member who returned safely from Lebanon. I thought it was very romantic.



© Fayrouz Hancock

The Abousaad family reunited. It was a very emotional moment. The cute, crying girl is his daughter Carla, 7.



© Fayrouz Hancock

Carla Abousaad was more relaxed after she hugged her dad and relatives. She's really cute.



© Fayrouz Hancock

Raj, Ramona and Raja H. Ataya relax during one fine moment of their reunion. Ataya's wife Sousan was very tired from the long trip. We respected her wish to not be photographed.

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