And so, to Gaza
After a final false start, which itself followed 3 failed applications, I am in possession of an entry permit to Gaza through Rafah, the border with Egypt. As often appears to be the case, this was sent to me with less than 10 days to be able to plan, schedule and book the entire trip, having sat somewhere in a labrynth of the Egyptian foreign office email inboxes for about 10 days.
Regardless, it is here, and I planned to drop most other things as elegantly as I could. Sadly, I’ve not managed elegance, my need to move quickly having replaced elegantly with quickly and clumsily.
The good thing about having no time to plan is that you can’t wallow in figuring out your emotions. Joy for me at a rare opportunity to enter the country that is my home and from which I’ve been exiled? Happiness at finally going in to see my countryfolk, people all our donors, fundraisers, sponsors and supporters have been helping? Apprehension about travelling overland across the desert to the border through a tense Egypt on its presidential election? Excitement to meet the partners who against incredible odds on the ground have actually been making some of these great projects happen? Concern that Israel is still pounding the territory with gay abandon and impunity whenever it gets a whim? Delight that some of the goods that have been collected for the Samouni family will finally be delivered to them? Thankfully, the pace of getting things done for the travel aligns itself best with the excitement, and that’s where I hope to stay!
I have two key objectives for this trip: to see what we’ve done so far, and to plan for what we do next. To see some of the projects we’ve implemented first hand and meet some of the communities and children there, and to plan for the social enterprise we hope to get going there in an effort to create initiatives that have minimal or no dependency on external fundraising. That drives the excitement that I have in entering Gaza. And I’ve been promised by our partners in Gaza that I will really enjoy the trip. If the people there are all as warm as the ones we talk to, then I have no doubt of this at all.
So within 24 hours, I will be boarding a plane to Cairo, arriving into the election mayhem of their first arguably free presidential election. Arguably. From there to be whisked off at night by a car to Rafah so that I can get to the border to Gaza before they open early (hopefully) the following morning. Excited…
Note – this blog post is about my trip into Gaza, and the opinions I express here are my own, and not official policy of the charity. Donors and sponsors note – although I am in Gaza in order to move forward with charity business and projects, in line with our ways of working, this trip has been paid for entirely by the founders of the charity, and no one’s donation has been used for this.