What’s it like on the convoy?

22 Sep

Kiwi Team captain Roger Fowler (right) and his deputy Chris van Ryn hold a strategy session on the run

by Chris van Ryn

Vice-captain of the Kiwi Team to Gaza

21 September 2010

What’s it like on the convoy? Well, here’s a typical day so far.

Wake up at 5am on a wooden floor in a large hall, surrounded by a hundred other volunteers. A rushed breakfast. Hop into our big van and drive for 10 hours, with just an occasional stop. Take care to stick with other vehicles in our echelon. Get to our destination city. Join the full convoy for a city centre parade to raise public awareness of Gaza. Talk with locals, hand out leaflets, collect donations.

It’s hard. It’s stressful. It’s uncomfortable.

And it’s so worth doing.

We’re here to do a job, not have a party. Our focus is to supply aid to suffering people in Gaza and break the globally condemned Israeli siege. That’s the thread binding our convoy together. For a month we put aside our own needs for the much greater needs of oppressed Palestinians.

The closer we get to Gaza, the stronger our feeling for the one-and-a-half million people imprisoned on that small strip of land. We feel their plight.

Each convoy volunteer has a story to tell about why they are here.

A British lawyer recounts how he took part in a review of Israel’s legal system. He tells of a 12-year-old boy being taken into court, shackled. His crime? Throwing a stone at the Separation Wall. The lawyer recounts his shock when an elderly woman, dazed and confused and with no idea what anyone was taking about, was convicted of colluding with Hamas. She got three months jail.

Such terrible truths increase our motivation to do what we’re doing. So it’s up again at 5am tomorrow, rushed breakfast, into our vehicles and go!

%d bloggers like this: