Deirmimas is a picturesque hill town surrounded by olive groves. The village overlooks the Litani river and Beaufort Castle to the west and the snow-capped summits of Mount Hermon to the east. The Litani River has long been the source of life and beauty in southern Lebanon and Jabal Amel. Tourists and residents of the village continue to be drawn to the banks of the river to visit its historic windmills. Beaufort Castle is the largest and most scenic Crusader castle in Lebanon and has been fought over even in recent times.
The road leading to Deirmimas is winding and steep, hidden by groves of olive trees that spread out for miles. The mild winters and temperate summers of Lebanon are perfectly suited to the cultivation of olives. The predominantly Greek Orthodox village is today home to 6,000 inhabitants and six Christian faith groups, namely, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Latin, Protestant, Evangelical Baptist and Maronite.
The rich potential of Deirmimas’s 130,000 olive trees, many of which date back to biblical times, went virtually untapped as the town and the district of Marjayoun in which it is located were occupied by Israel for some 24 years. Cut off from the rest of Lebanon and the outside world, olive oil production slowed dramatically. In May 2000 when Israel withdrew, Deirmimas was a shell of its former self and its infrastructure was in ruins after years of neglect. Furthermore, almost half of the population had emigrated to Toronto in Canada and Lansing in Michigan in the United States since the early nineteenth century.
The Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 left open territory that was in urgent need of development. In recent years, dozens of international non-governmental organizations and donors have assisted the village in its unwavering struggle to recover. Some of the main sources of assistance have been the Pontifical Mission, Caritas/CRS, World Bank, World Vision, UNDP, UNFPA and UNIFIL, as well as many philanthropists and expatriates from Deirmimas.
The outward-bound people of Deirmimas have sustained an enduring attachment to their land and an unwavering desire to revive and revitalize their village, even though their travels have taken them as far from home as America, Arabia and Australia.
:: DEIRMIMAS ::