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Jaldía Abubarka: “I jumped on the boat full of enthusiasm, happiness, and hope”

27-09-2016 21:04

Source: Women’s Boat to Gaza



After the farewell that took place in Barcelona, we boarded the ships Amal-Hope and Zaytouna-Oliva. I was full of enthusiasm, happiness, and hope.

Shortly after, we detected some technical problems in Amal, the vessel I was on board, which made her return to the harbour in Barcelona for an inspection. I was disappointed but I was lucky to be able to switch to Zaytouna-Oliva and continue the journey. I felt grateful and lucky again, and I had the hope that Amal-Hope could be fixed so that the rest of the teammates could follow us.

During the route to Ajaccio, the sea was rough and almost all of us started to feel sick and nauseous, especially me because it is the first time that I travel by boat. I got really sick and spent the whole trip vomiting, up to the point that the doctor on board had to give me injections. The most important thing was the human qualities and comradeship among all women on board and the competence of our excellent captain Madeleine (“Magdalena,” that’s how she likes to be called by the Spanish crew).

I’d like to highlight their best qualities after the two first days of the journey: Wendy and Kit have taken care of us like mothers; Fauziah, the doctor, in spite of being ill herself, has never ceased to take care of us and look after us distributing medicine or injections: Rosana, my cabin mate, who, every time I lifted my head, asked me “Jaldía, are you ok? Drink some water;” Yudit, a great person; Ann, who gave us advise based on her own experience; sweet Paulina; my girl, Lucía, our journalist from Malaga, who embodies professionalism despite her youth and was the only one who did not get sick and broadcasted everything, in addition to helping to look after the rest; and lastly, the sailors, young in age but extraordinary professionals, including the captain Madeleine. They made us feel safe in spite of feeling the waves pounding our small vessel like stones. I’m grateful to all of them.

At the end of our journey from Barcelona to Corsica, in Ajaccio there was a welcoming party formed by many people who opened up their homes and their hearts. Both Corsicans and my teammates made me feel that there is still hope and that we are still humans. I was honoured to get to know two families who took me in their homes: a Lebanese family, Marwan and Sylvie, to whom I’m thankful; and Isabelle and Vincent, and their daughter Paolina, who are great human rights activists and supporters of the Palestinian cause, and who know a legend, Christiane Hessel.

If the Zionist regime joins forces with many governments, Palestine counts on the peoples’ solidarity. Eventually, our day will come and Palestine will live in peace with dignity.

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