Sunday, June 10, 2012

Update @ 1533 (+8GMT)

Update @ 1533 (+8GMT) - 9am. Just crossed the Suez Canal - update via sms from Azra Banu

Update @1233 (+8GMT)

Update @1233 (+8GMT) -

6.30am. The first bus carrying Malaysians, new zealanders, British activists moves out! The other buses r right behind. Convoy is escorted by Egyptian security.

- Update via SMS from Azra Banu

Update @1207 (+8GMT)

Update @1207 (+8GMT)

6am n Everyone's on board the buses n waiting to roll. It's so good to see friends, old n new. Warm familiar faces. Zaher Birawi, Nikki Enmarche, roger fowler, hone fowler n the biggest surprise of all, an old friend, Dr Anas al Tikriti.

- update via SMS from Azra Banu, VPM

Update @ 11.23 (+8GMT)

Update @ 11.23 (+8GMT):

It's 5.13am in Cairo and all activists are having breakfast before boarding buses to Gaza, Palestine. 120+ activists in total. Stay tuned.

-update via sms from Azra Banu, VPM.

Our friends from Kia Ora Gaza and shots from Cairo

Kia Ora Gaza (Roger Fowler, Tali Williams, Hone Fowler, Gibran Janif) with Azra and Dr Essam Mustafa (who has been instrumental in organising this particular aid effort).

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Revolution Continues

Azra: Update- this afternoon we drove through Tahrir Square. A most surreal feeling being at Egypt's Ground Zero. Traces of the revolution visible on the streets of Cairo.

Hello Pyramids!

Just got a message from Azra.

" In Movenpick Hotel, al Ahram St, Giza. The Pyramids are a stone's throw away."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Roll out the crazy days

This past month's been just crazy. Tying up aid from 3 corners; China, Cairo & Malaysia, all timed to arrive in Cairo just days before the team does. Solar lamps, solar bulbs, cartoon stickers, projectors, laptops, books, posters, wheelchairs, crutches, medicine, even chocolates. Alhamdulillah, everything;s falling into place, right up to the last day. Living on the edge they say.

The team comprises VPM chairman Dato' Dr Musa Nordin, secretary Azra Banu, committee members Elya Lim, Noorazian Anidin, Mohd Idrus & VPM volunteers Che Mahmud & Roslan Mohammad and four others from Aqsa Syarif. In less than 24 hours we shall be on Etihad Airways bound for Cairo before embarking on the road trip to Gaza. Last minute preparations are inevitable giving me a good dose of the jitters & excitement.

The goodwill's just been amazing. We called for sponsors for solar lamps, thinking we'd top up any shortfall, but the funds still haven't stopped coming, prompting a second shipment. Then we started a wheelchair & crutches campaign and the amount raised allowed us to purchase twice the number of wheelchairs. Cartoon stickers, Quran in Braille, chocolates, everything was snapped up by very generous hearts, from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, UK, US, Russia, South Africa, Europe. I can say with certainty that your kindness is deeply appreciated by all in Gaza.

I haven't had time to think about what it'd feel like to be back in Gaza but now, just hours away to taking the first step, Gaza is staking its claim and memories of that first trip are rushing forth. This time, I'm not going in blind. I've made friends, family almost. They wait to see us, to embrace us, to welcome us into their humble homes.

Yes, Gaza beckons us again.