28 February 2006

Plans for my visit to Palestine on 16 April 2006

Main items to attend to:-

1. Visit Wadi Foquin in ''West Bank'' to learn how the kindergarten and its children are. To hear how the expanding settlement of Beitar Illit is affecting the village of 1300 folk. Untreated sewage used to discharge occasionally from this settlement and onto the precious plots of WF village below it. We were disgusted to learn that this is now occuring about every 10 days.

2. Visit Gaza for:-
a. To spend time with Nihad Taha, whom we employ for 20 hours per week. His contract may be extended and his hours of duty increased.
b. Visit several of the scholars, record their thoughts and hopes on video camera, and take some 'photographs' - including their families.
c. Visit a few schools/kindergartens which we have supplied with water filters/tanks. I want to be sure that the water is entirely healthy. I have received some expert advice about this already - from Mark Zeitoun, an hydrologist of Palestinian parents who was born in Canada (a reminder if we need one that a Palestinian 'diaspora' exists, amounting to 5 million).
d. With Yousef and Nihad, meet with the Dean of the Gaza Technical College to discuss the proposals for a computer laboratory for young men and women. The premises will be loaned to the Dove and Dolphin and the 'lab' called by that name. We are being asked to provide 20 computers, and some furnishings. The running costs will not be our responsibility.
e. The most important meetings will take place with the board of the El Wafah hospital, my friend Dr Khamis Elessi and possibly a senior man/woman from the Ministry. The subject is the close involvement of the D&D and myself in the setting up of a medical educational facility. The hospital has generously offered the whole floor of a new building which I have seen. There are many questions to ask and problems to overcome. This could be a very important project for Gaza, especially if the occupier makes it even more difficult for people to move to/fro the West Bank and to the 'outside'. If it proceeds, many doctors from outside, and especially Britain, will be called to stand there beside their Palestinian brothers and sisters. The centre will be for nurses, midwives, physios etc as well as doctors.
f. And there might be a few hours for rest and relaxation! If things are going well and I am enjoying myself, I will stay longer. However, that means another £50 plus, and already I have paid 2 cancellation fees. It was too unsafe to travel there 29-12-05 and 15-01-06. Shukran.