“I would like to wish all the girls the best of luck for Miss Lebanon, South Africa..
Be yourself, have fun, and enjoy the competition…
You are all beautiful, and are special to this community……
God bless and protect you”

The 28th June 2003, the night I was crowned Miss Lebanon 2003, the night my life changed.
I was off to my Motherland, Lebanon, for the first time!
Before I left, I had this picture in my mind what to expect, but what I saw, did and ate…I could never have ever imagined!
Lebanese emigrants from all over the world (South Africa, USA, Mexico, Australia, Canada etc.) got together for the International Festival For Lebanese Emigrants.
For 11 days and 12 nights I learnt so much about my culture, the people and the language.
Today I feel much more educated of who I am and where I am from.
The people in Lebanon are so kind, they welcome you into their homes at any time, and they are very religious.
Lebanon may be a small country, but they have 30,000 churches ...now I was very happy to see that!

We visited Holy Sites (Our Lady of Harissa, St Charbel, St Rafqa and much more);
Historical Sites all over Lebanon which was very interesting.
During my trip I was introduced to very important people, we were honestly treated like kings and queens!

The nightlife in Lebanon is great, the parties never end! Warning….there is no time to sleep in Lebanon! During the tour we laughed, danced, ATE, and most importantly we prayed, while doing all this I learnt A LOT!
The tour would never had been the same without the help and presence of our wonderful priest,
Father Nadim Abou Zeid, and the organiser Fady Bou Dagher, my parents, family and all the great friends that I made during my trip.
On the 19th July I competed against all countries from around the world for the Miss Lebanon Emigrants Pageant, where I represented my country, South Africa, I was crowned 1st Princess.
My family and I were overwhelmed!
The only advice I can give you is go visit your Motherland, take my word for it! Be proud of where you are from, because after what I have experienced I am one very proud Lebanese person. I was given an opportunity to see Lebanon, so I took it! Now the doors are open for you to go visit the land of your forefathers….All I can say is TAKE IT!

For me it was HOME from HOME!
God Bless and Protect you.
Brenda Zackey

My trip to Lebanon from
9 - 20 July 2003