Profile: Naser Zeidan and Sami Makki
|Naser Zeidan,left and Sami Makki
Between the two of them, Naser Zeidan and Sami Makki have chalked up
nearly sixty years of service to the American University of Beirut. These
men have truly helped shape AUB. If you've ever enjoyed a sunny day on
the Green Oval, or stopped to marvel at nature's beauty on the Upper or
Lower Campus, Zeidan and Makki are the ones to thank.
Soon after he started working for AUB in 1982, Naser Zeidan made use of
his rural upbringing by joining the Landscaping Department. "I spent
my life in my village, Ras El Ballout, working with trees, flowers, and
bushes," he says. And at AUB, he took several workshops to nurture
his understanding of the art he had initially learned through trial and
error. Today, he is in charge of two of the most delicate locations on
campus: Marquand House, home of the university president, and College
Hall, AUB's identifying structure.
Sami Makki has spent his 34 years at AUB working on the campus landscape.
Born and raised in the Beqa'a, Makki learned the art of landscaping by
working in his father's fields. He is now in charge of the menial details
of the entire campus. From carrying out the basic tree-trimming work,
to managing the more complicated and continuous replacement of flowers
and shrubs, Makki is rarely seen sitting down.
During the civil war years (1975-1990), these two men went beyond the
call of duty and helped salvage important artifacts and relics from demolished
buildings at AUB. When College Hall was destroyed in a bombing in 1991,
Makki and Zeidan risked their lives underneath its collapsing walls to
rescue whatever they could get their hands on. "We took paintings
and artifacts from the building, as the walls around us were crumbling.
We did this for AUB because it is our home," they said.
Today, these two men spend nine hours a day making sure AUB is looking
its best. Over the weekend, both men go back to their villages and spend
two days performing the same weekly chores in their own fields. "I
have an olive garden and an orchard of fruit trees. I also rear cows,"
says Makki, whose life's dream is to see his children attending AUB.
The next time you spend a lazy afternoon on a patch of cool grass, remember
how hard Makki and Zeidan work in order to make sure the insects won't
make a meal of you.