13 July 2003

News letter No 2


To all our supporters 13th July 2003

We are gathering in the last items for packing into the 40ft container which will leave Burrow Farm, Broadclyst on the 21st of July. The load is made up of clothing (new or good second hand and mostly woollen), blankets, medical supplies (from local hospitals), toys, stationery etc., 1.4 tons of reject carpet wool and a good second hand ultra sound machine for the hospitals there. The last items will be hand knitted baby and childrens’ clothes from Mrs Ressel and her group in Woolacombe who sent lovely things for the first voyage and 6 second hand computers for schools in Gaza from Shabir Ahmed of the Exeter Islamic Centre. We are fitting in at the last moment a computer, pencils and footballs from Mike Chapman who runs a small group ‘Compassion for Palestine’. He has just contacted us for the first time and is sending these to a school in Rafah. We are waiting for 11 duffle bags that hold complete kits for new mums and their midwives. A very special lady in Suffolk saw the need for these and made most of the kits herself with some help from friends. I will say more about her next time. The cost of sending this container to the dockside of Ashdod will be about £1,550 which is excellent value. Peters and May of Southampton/Plymouth have arranged it with great efficiency.

The video of the voyage has been shown to several groups and many are planned. Questions and answers follow each showing. Another 50 copies of the video are being printed to meet the increasing demand. John Maughan had a good gathering in Boscastle on the 3rd July and well over £100 pounds were put in the pot. David took the video and a hired video projector to a fringe meeting of the BMA in Torquay on the 30th of June. The subjects for discussion were Iraq and then Palestine. A senior neurologist was present who had flown to Britain from Baghdad as a visitor to the BMA Annual Meeting. The 20 doctors present were very moved by the story of the voyage. The ‘pot’ paid for the £123 costs of hire and one British doctor gave the D and D £1000, boosting our income over 2 weeks to £4000. This was more help for the nippers in Gaza eg. £1000 equals 100 pairs of leather shoes for boys, and the shoes are made in Hebron.

I plan to return to Israel and Gaza in the second half of September. Sue was going to come with me but after she saw ‘Killing Zone’ on C3 or C4 which focused a good deal on the deaths of the ISM volunteers in Gaza she has had second thoughts. I understand that completely. I hope to take a group with me who have a range of expertise in the medical field. One has been a GP and more recently a psychotherapist. We will meet our colleagues in the various disciplines there and ask ‘how may we help?’. This function will be separate from the Dove and the Dolphin though related of course. Incidentally I have offered to be part of those groups of British doctors who go out to teach the students of Al Quds School of Medicine. Prof. Colin Green PhD, DSc(med), FRCVS, FRCPath, FRCS (Hon) had a great deal to do with the setting up of this medical school in Jerusalem with a branch in Gaza. The second cohort of doctors from this school graduated in September 2002. The high standards achieved against odds which would be insuperable for many of us show the calibre of these young Palestinian people. Colin’s wife Liz has local connections so she was able to visit us last week and update us on how the FQMS are helping to make this medical school succeed in every way. Sue and I hope that one or two of the young students and doctors can have a little holiday with us here on Dartmoor when they are over here on ‘electives’ or following postgraduate studies.

Our application for registration with the Charity Commission is still being dealt with. I have recently responded to a second letter from Mrs Matravers, the lady dealing with it. She requested a copy of the video and we included a tape of Jenny Cuffe’s 25 minute ‘Seven Days’ programme that was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April. At a recent meeting of senior orthopaedic surgeons who are/have been associated with the ‘Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery’ I was pleased to hear several had heard of the voyage through such routes. They spoke warmly about it and who knows one or two might join our party to Gaza.

The fund is growing well but the need is great of course. The Palestinian people need a just peace more than anything but until then their economy is greatly constricted like their lives so help from outside is vital to all and particularly the young ones. We have received about £40,000 now against our early expenditure of £94,000. We noted before that a line was being drawn at £30,000 on the income side so we have £10,000 for the container first of all and the large remainder will be sent to Adli Hammad in Gaza City where it will be spent on uniforms, shoes, school bags and stationery for the poorest children. Almost all the goods will be made in Palestine thus helping the economy and we have established that they are excellent value eg. £3 for the uniform for a young girl. Unemployment is about 75%. Records will be kept by our friends there of all the outgoings and recipients. It will be done with the same fairness as before.

I have spoken of resilience. The reject carpet wool that we took in February (seems a long time ago now) was the last thing to be ‘homed’. Sawaf, his name meaning weaver in Arabic, was delighted with the quality of it. Within about 4 weeks he and his 10 craftspeople had produced 10 ‘pieces’, the first being a beautiful rug of tufted type which features the dove and the dolphin. They had cleverly removed the dove from our ship’s flag and replaced it with the dove designed by Julia Finzel which was used on the jolly flags and tickets we had printed in Gaza. Hope and resilience.

We are running a tight ship. Thank you for all your help and moral support.

David Halpin MB BS FRCS Chairman of the Trustees


Contact: David/Sue
Telephone: 01364 661115
Email: [email protected]
Our a/d - Kiln Shotts, Haytor, Newton Abbot, TQ13 9XR

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