The Egyptians refused to let the convoy in at the Libyan/Egyptian border, informing us we could come in only by air (!) or boat. This meant that ferry arrangements had to be made with the Libyans, and these had to include the Libyans providing the ferry free, since chartering a ferry from Tobruk (close to the border) or back at Tripoli (far, far from the border) would be prohibitively expensive. Estimating the time this might take plus the time it would take at the Egyptian port, it appeared that another three to four weeks would be, if anything, an optimistic estimate of how long it would take to enter Gaza. Since I could only spend a total of four weeks away, I, with some others, left the convoy at the border, flew from Tobruk to Tripoli, and after a night there flew back to England.
Reading through my earlier blogs, I find I have to apologise for some very slovenly mistakes such as missed letters, incorrect letters, extgra letters and the like in the writing. My main exscuse is that many of these, written in transit through Libya, were written on Turkish keyboards, via wi-fi that was too temperamental to allow any time for editing. I'm very tempted to add that any poor essays were due to the pc being eaten by feral Libyan dogs, but I won't as I guess you wouldn't believe it.
I'd also like to explain that I've avoided blogging about internal and external problems the convoy, like any convoy, encountered, since I didn't want those who aren't friends of humanitarian convoys to Gaza to have lanything they could use to try to stop this aid. The problems were, of course, personal and political.
Finally, I'd like to sing the praises of two people: of Kieran, the convoy leader, a young man of great human intelligence and of the great strength of persistent patience necessary to lead such a mixed group through such mixed territories. And, though he won't much like it, of my rock-like driving partner Rich, always ready to drive more than his share when I wasn't up to it and never complaining that anything was too hard to do, except to waste time. To end on the truly exotic: Rich in his non-convoy life is a magician, and has been a circus horse rider and lion tamer, though he prefers the term 'lion presenter' since for him nothing could be tamer than his lions.
I'll blog the future details of the convoy as I learn them You can also follow on the Road to Hope Convoy to Gaza blog.
Thanks to Sue and Judith for keeping the home fires burning, the central heating lit.