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New delegation from Canada to Gaza: Focus is on dire medical situation, plight of children

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Another Codepink delegation to Gaza. We are nine Canadians. Our trip has been sponsored by CodePink, Toronto and Independent Jewish Voices. 

Our goal is to continue to bring attention to the ongoing siege on Gaza – the blockade that does not allow people or goods to move across the border between Egypt and Gaza or Israel and Gaza.  Our focus this trip will be the medical situation in Gaza and the plight of the children.  We have raised some money - a few thousand and we are going to bring some supplies with us.  What we mostly are bringing is our support – our solidarity for the Palestinian people. We know that we cannot stop until there is a just peace.

Yesterday I arrived at the Isis Hotel in Cairo.  It felt wonderful – familiar, welcoming.   The weather is very hot here and it is a welcome change from Toronto.

The trip went smoothly.  Our cab picked me up on time and we picked up Beth and went to the airport.  We flew to Zurich and an hour later on to Cairo.  The flights were on time and uneventful – just what you would hope when flying.

Last night I spent most of the evening online – chatting with contacts in Palestine and catching up on emails.  I also was organizing the rooms and flight pick up times with the hotel. My Egyptian phone now has minutes on it again.  Finally at 11:30pm I knew I needed some sleep.

I need to make decisions for what to buy.  I want to buy multi vitamins for children and pregnant women. I also have been told that there is a shortage of pain medications in Gaza. The student group here is working with a doctor’s syndicate in Cairo.  They are meeting with them this morning to get more details.  I will wait to hear from them as well.  I also have a contact to call today – a doctor who works with Red Crescent and who is in Cairo at this time.

I have been given a list from a youth centre in Gaza for soccer uniforms – shorts, shirts, running shoes, shin pads and soccer balls. I spoke with one of the organizers of the student delegation that is going to Gaza a few days after us and she said they are bringing 40 soccer balls.

Today I need to find factories, manufacturers – toys, medicines, sport equipment.  I am relying on my contacts here – Codepink organizers, friends I met when I was here in March and the hotel staff.  I will also confirm our bus for Friday morning.

It’s a busy day ahead.  Insha’allah – it will go smoothly – shopping, shopping, shopping.  It was so much simpler in the days when that just meant a few souvenirs .

Peace and solidarity,


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