The inevitable tummy bug has struck! In weather alternating between stormy, searing heat and torrential rain it was only a matter of time. The food in the Palestinian camp is basic, but wholesome, and the bug which has jumped from one to another has weakened. Nonetheless it is a blessing that we are not on the high seas at this stage.
Most mornings I am woken by the call to prayer, and it is far too early for me at 5.30am. Lately this group has taken to amplifying the call, and I have taken to open threats to cut the mike cable. The Moslem guys are a great bunch, but I demand a little respect for my atheism. This morning the call was not amplified.
On Friday, I was woken by the sound of heavy thunder amid flashes of sheet lightening. Spectacular! Being properly awake I took the customary cold shower (at speed, accompanied by muffled screams) and crawled back to bed at about 6.00am to warm up. Then the rain started, big heavy drops at first, then the heavens opened. I heard sirens, then Amina, one of the 5 girls I share this small and basic room with, rushed in and said the aid needed moving. By the time we had pulled on some clothes the water was knee deep on the brick walkways outside our rooms. Undaunted we ran through deepening flood and with a huge joint effort moved thousands of boxes to safer ground before they could be damaged. Notably it was mostly the older men and women who ran to the rescue. The young ones slumbered on.
As the negotiations with Egypt continue there is still little word on our departure date. Clearly it is a delicate affair and I will make no comment here today. Many of the older and respected brothers do not want to go through the gates of Rafah without George Galloway, but that may eventually be the case. We 'will' the Egyptian people to influence their government and help it to bring sense to the situation. The people of Palestine, and the people of Gaza in particular, should not be suffering in this way for one minute longer.