In Sidon's Ouzai refugee complex, one Syrian sweet maker asks that his customers pay only what they can afford for his sugary confections. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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Qataf Mahanna fled from Syria's Idlib province seven years ago when the civil war broke out in the country. After settling in Mount Lebanon, he created a thriving business selling traditional Arabic sweets.He soon decided to sell much of his product at reduced prices to the refugees living in Ouzai, at times giving the sweets away for free. The compound, initially meant to be a university campus, now houses about 1,000 refugees from some 220 families.Mahanna and his son come to Sidon twice weekly to sell sweets at about LL5,000 (just over $3) per kilogram.One of Mahanna's younger customers, 9-year-old Esraa Dabbous, told The Daily Star that she doesn't remember how sweets tasted in Syria because she was too young to remember.
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