by Sarah Ikhmayes, Al-Awda-NY
July 9th, on our way to Alexandria
The day started out beautifully. Most of the 80 people that were heading to Alexandria to pick up the trucks that will be driving us into Gaza, were in the lobby by 8. You can really feel the excitement within the delegates. Not because we were going into a different city, but because this was really a step forward toward Gaza.
About 2 hrs later we began boarding the bus. And supposedly 2 1/2 hrs later we were supposed to be in Alexandria. But things don't always work out as you plan. We eventually reached Alexandria 4 hrs later. We stopped at a McDonalds so that everyone can stretch and get something to eat. An hour and a half later we found ourselves heading to Customs, where the Egyptians were holding the cars. But get this, they didn't give it to us. After waiting nearly 2 hrs for them, the Egyptians informed us that the Minister of Investment was visiting and was inside the building. Therefore for "his safety", we were not allowed inside to get a hold of the vehicles. The authorities told us to come back on Saturday because Friday is a holy day for Muslims and many government institutions are closed.
One of our fellow delegates was not feeling to well. So we were told that we would be taken to this hotel so that we may rest and freshen up. About an hour passed before we got off the bus and into this residential building that we were going to be spending the next 2-3 days. However, many of us were disgusted at what we saw and went Hotel Hunting.
We did not go Hotel Hunting because we can't handle hardship and dirt, but because we would rather pay the same money for something much cleaner.
And here we are, almost 9 hrs later in Alexandria. Awaiting the day the Egyptian government releases those cars so that we can make our way into the hearts of the Gazans.
Because no matter how much they try to delay us or try to make it impossible for us to reach Gaza, we will continue to stand here waiting. Time of course is not on our hands on this journey, but we will continue to stand. Viva Palestina!