Big Island Teacher Leaving Turmoil in Beirut, Headed for Cyprus

Sarah Ahmadia's framed picture sits on her mother's desk.
Sarah Ahmadia's framed picture sits on her mother's desk.
Phyllis Ahmadia
Phyllis Ahmadia
Sarah Ahmadia
Sarah Ahmadia

July 18, 2006 08:27 PM

by Joann Shin

BIG ISLAND (KHNL) - For the past week, Phyllis Ahmadia has kept two things close by: her cell phone and the television.  She watches coverage of the Middle East conflict closely.

"We've never lost contact with her. My cell phone is by my bed, 24 hours a day," said Ahmadia.

Phyllis learned Tuesday afternoon about her daughter's evacuation from a small town just outside of Beirut.

KHNL News 8 talked to Sarah Ahmadia just minutes after she got the evacuation news.

"Sorry, I can't even talk. I'm so nervous. I feel relieved and terrified all at the same time," said Sarah, a biology teacher at Kamehameha Schools, Big Island campus.

Ahmadia is staying in the mountain town of Sharoon, about 15 miles east of Beirut.

"The main highway between Beirut and where she is staying has been basically obliterated in spots," said Phyllis.

Sarah's cousin, a member of the Lebanese Army will escort her and five family members to a military base next to the U.S Embassy.  She says she worries her family will be a moving target. "They are bombing near us. We can hear it a lot we can still hear the planes."

Sarah and her family will then take a bus to a port, where she'll get on to a cruise ship with thousands of other Americans headed to Cypress.

Sarah explained, "Once we get the initial drive in, we'll be very protected once in U.S. hands."

"She's a strong articulate biology teacher that I know. She's going to make it out safely," said Sarah's mother.