Amanda could hear the catastrophic explosion from her bedroom. That's how close she was to the devastation that happened on August 4, 2020, when a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, exploded, causing at least 204 deaths and leaving an estimated 300,000 people homeless.
When the dust settled, Amanda watched as thousands of her fellow citizens took to the streets to clean up the rubble, lend a hand to rescue missions, help victims and work to rebuild their country. It was a moment of both revelation and inspiration. Lebanese citizens, who for decades have been mired in sectarian conflicts and struggling with governments that fail to address the basic needs of the people, came together, despite their differences to build a better, stronger Lebanon.