Most retirees can’t say they have just spent three weeks in a warzone, but Bramblewood Retirement Village resident Irene Voysey isn’t most retirees. The accomplished author and journalist recently journeyed to Northern Lebanon to visit a school for refugee children, for which she hopes to raise funds by writing and publishing a book about her experiences. While travelling through Tripoli with a pastor friend, Irene had the first of many culture shocks experienced during her time there.
“We were stuck in traffic and there was a guy in battle fatigues standing right next to our van,” Irene said. “The pastor said something to him in Arabic, the man responded before moving on, and the pastor turned to me and said ‘He’s ISIS’”. “I was an arm’s length away from a killer.”
Thanks to Irene’s pastor friend and his wife, a village outside Tripoli is now home to a school for Syrian refugee children, who were previously left alone in rough shelters while their parents found work in the fields. Irene – author of several successful books and former national editor for the Bible Society – hopes sales of her book can contribute to the school.
“You see all of this terror on television, but these people are living so close to it and yet are still so calm and carrying on helping others,” Irene said.
When she’s not visiting conflict hotspots or writing, Irene enjoys relaxing at home at Bramblewood.
“The landscaping here is beautiful, and I was mainly attracted to the gardens,” she said. “I’ve made a nice little home here and it’s very conveniently located.”
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