It is not what you think, but what you actually do that can change lives.

Happy New Year!


To everyone that has followed my blog this year, I wish you all a Happy New Year! And that 2012 will be full of a lot of new life saving projects.  Try to remember what counts in life, and that silence is a quiet consent of all the unfairness that are taking place in the world at this very moment.  

Heaps of love to you all.

To be continued..

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This morning we woke up at 0330 in the morning in Beirut at our hotel Tahiti Tower, we were suppose to  catch the flight to Istanbul at 0630. The guys from Takaful came and picked us up and drove us to the airport, Mohammed waved us off. Something we all have reacted on is that people are allowed to smoke inside in Beirut, in restaurants and in bars, we all have forgotten how it was when it was allowed in Sweden. 

We flew from Beirut to Istanbul and it went quite quick, we arrived ten past eight and our flight to are leaving at 2250 in the evening, there are a lot of time to waste there.  

When we had landed half the gang decided that they wanted to go to Istanbul, the city center and I, Pim, Annie, John, Tobias and Johanna wanted to take it easy for a while before we decided what to do.  Pim  wanted to stay at he airport, but the rest of us was told that there was a huge outlet just 10 minutes from the airport. So we thought why not, let’s go, so we went to Via Port, apparently one of  the bigger outlets in the country. It was good fun, and we stayed for a couple of hours just to waste time, none of us did any serious shopping.

We went back to the airport, and I think that we all agreed upon that none of us had spent that many hours in an airport ever, counting both when we went to Beirut and when we are going to Copenhagen.

Anyway, we all got a wee bit silly and laughed a lot, I like out crowd a lot and I will miss them when this is over.

We are still waiting at the airport right now and it is about one hour left before we are boarding. Our plane is arriving to Copenhagen at 0110 at night an there are no trains to Helsingborg until 0430 in the morning, that sucks but that is how it is,  and I do not know how to solve that problem right now.

Time is right now 21.32 in the evening at the airport in Istanbul and we are still waiting, but the time are passing very quickly, I guess that sucks too in some sence..

To be continued..

Last Day in Beirut


 Today has been a very nice day, beside the rain. I and Daniel have been interviewed on radio today. We were picked up at 1030 and driven to the station. It the radio station was a political broadcasting station, but we did our best to keep us as neutral as possible. Because even if our hearts goes out to the Palestinian refugees in the camps, we are humanitarian workers and we help any one despite ethnicity and religion. It was good fun though and it is always good to pick up more media routine.

After the radio interview I just did some internet stuff waiting for Anneli to come back from the TV broadcasting she, Jonna, Chnar and Cecilia went to. But Annelie cam back for some film to bring back to the TV place so I could go back there with her. I have never been in a place like this, highly technological and they broadcasted all over the world by satellite. I was very happy to be guided around the TV station, and the man who showed us around was very handsome. 

 After the TV thing we went down town by Service, a taxi that is much cheaper than a regular taxi, keep that in mind if you ever get here. Down town is very posh and expensive, but quite interesting. I did not buy any stuff, but we bought some food in a very nice food store.

 

When we got back, we went to Bay Rock to eat dinner; it is the last time the whole group is complete, because tomorrow we leave Beirut at 4 o clock in the morning. Therefore we need to sleep, I will try to post this just now..

 

Good night everyone, wherever you are..

 

To be continued..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gun Shots In the Night


This morning we were suppose to meet up at eight o clock to go to Saida, in the south of Lebanon, close to the Israeli border. We are not to far away from the south but the traffic is so mad so it is very time consuming to get there.

 

When we finally arrived we were divided into two groups because we are not very welcome there by the Lebanese military. One group went to the biggest refugee camp in Lebanon, with approximately 70 000 refugees. The rest went to the camp MiahMiah, which means hundred –hundred, it is a quite small camp but it is very poor. We were allowed to visit people’s homes, I find that very interesting and it makes me want to stay and investigate how the camps actually are working in the everyday life.

 

Because of the law that prevents the refugees to bring in working material into the camps it is impossible for the people to renovate their homes. The winter in Lebanon is damp and chilly and comes with a lot of rain, but the roofs are leaking in water and to be honest it is just a lot of misery.

 

The people in the camps are suffering from similar deceases to the refugees in that lives in the Western Sahara, like diabetes, male nutrition and anaemia, but here in Lebanon cancer is a the very common decease as well. The reason for that is that the guns tat was used in the latest war contained a lot of radioactive material, they were and still are I guess, very contaminated.

 

We also had the opportunity to meet two women who worked in one organisation in the camps, I asked about the everyday life in the camp but they were not so willing to talk about it, the talked more about the future and how happy they were about moving to Palestine.

 

I would like to come and live in one of the refugee camps and do research about how it is to live here, whom is in charge, and how the authority between the groups and organisations are divided, I believe I will learn a lot from that.

 

After we had seen the camps we were given a very nice dinner, with a lot of nice food, like lamb and chicken and a lot of vegetables.

 

After visiting the camps on our way back to Beirut, Doctor Martin wanted to stop in a sweet shop and buy delights. I and Tobias were in the same car so we joined him. The sweet are very sweet here.

 

When we cam back to the hotel some people went out to se Beirut by night, me and Anneli were too tired to do that so we went to Starbucks for some hot chocolate before we were going to bed. We watched Al Jazeera news and according the news the Arabic world has really reached a dangerous boiling point. We are flying to Turkey early on Sunday morning and I sincerely hope that it is at least semi stability in the area until then.

 

The weather had been dreadful all day with thunder and heavy rain but one sleep very well then. However, I woke up around 12 o clock by a lot of sirens about 10 minutes later we heard a lot of gun shots just near by, that got me a bit weary. Apparently it made a lot of other people concerned as well because there were a lot of people standing on their balconies to see what was going on. But after a while it all quiet down and we went back to sleep again. From my understanding this is a quite common thing I Beirut, but I am curious about what it was all about, but I will ask around tomorrow and see if anyone gives me an answer.

 

We were woken up at four o clock again, but this time it was the party people who came home from clubbing all night, they were not very quiet. After twenty minutes listening to the guys summing up the night on the other side of the wall I got dressed and knocked on their door and politely wished them welcome home and if they please could speak in smaller voices, and they did.

 

Then we went to bed again, hopefully to sleep until the alarm clock sets off.

 

To be continued..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prisoners in Their Homes


This morning we went to Tripoli to visit the Palestinian another refugee camp. We left Beirut around nine o clock. We drove for about an hour before we stopped for breakfast, we ate some kind of white bread with melted cheese in between. They eat a lot of white bread and a sincere amount of sugar in this country, which is not my cup of tea.

 

The way from Beirut toTripoli runs along the coast, it is a very scenic drive with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other, however, the maintenance of the road and the mad traffic is a whole other story. I know that I have driven trough six countries only on this journey, but not being in charge of the wheel, makes me the worst backseat driver ever, and a wee bit scared as well. When the cars overtake one another the do it in every line, every one is honking and pushing hard to get first in line, there are hardly no cars without damages on their finish.

 

The Refugee camp we visited in Tripoli had much fewer inhabitants then the camp in Beirut, one could actually drive in the streets and there were not that many narrow alleys to get lost in. But in common to the other camps we have seen the sour system was not very good and the electricity cable was outside their houses. The refugees have food, clothes and a roof over their head, but the Palestinian refugees are tied to the camps, they are not allowed to live anywhere else but there. The Palestinians refugee camps has been here in Beirut since 1948, and it looks like they are going to be here for the future to come. Lebanese soldiers are guarding the entrances to the camps, and they are not happy to let us western people in to the camps. We are told to have the passports handy to be able to identify our selves at all times, and the soldiers basically do whatever they want if they decide to believe that we are doing something wrong. The Refugees lack good healthcare because it is too expensive to use the public healthcare, a lot of the medical staff that are working in the camps are working pro bono, meaning working for free.

 

We went back from the camp when it was dark, it get dark very quickly here around 430 in the afternoon. The weather is very bad; it is raining cats and dogs, and a lot of thunder.

 

We went to Second Cup in the evening to get good internet connection, and we stayed a wee bit to long, because we went for dinner at 11 o clock in the evening. I ate soup that was really nice. Tomorrow we are going to visit camps only 17 kilometres from the Israeli border, so I am off to bed now, to be fit for fight for the new challenges that I will meet tomorrow.

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

Being Grateful


The hotel is not wat we expected at all, there was no sheet in the bed and we are sharing it with a few other creatures, like cockroaches and other bugs. My first thought was no way; I do not want to sleep here. However, but after a few minutes of thinking, realised that I was behaving really stupid with my thoughts. When I have been out travelling before I have not minded sleeping in worse places that this, sometimes sharing rooms with rats. And when I thought harder about it, looking back how I was living in the refugee camps in Algeria, this place seems like heaven in compare.

 

But I am not here for wasting tome on complaining about my bed, I am here to learn about the refugee camps in Lebanon.

 

Today, Mohamed and TAKAFUL has taken us to two of the camps in Lebanon, the first one we visited is 1000 square meters and with 25000 refugees. Because of the small area the houses are built on the height and the higher the building becomes the darker the ground become. One can not drive through the camp because the alleys are so narrow, the sour system is not very good, and the electricity system is very dangerous. All the cables are hanging in the air with no protection from the rain and they can easily fall down and electrifies people to death. That happens all the time, and the children that are out playing are at the biggest risk. However, we were allowed to go into a flat, and I was actually surprised that they were so nice inside. But then I was told that this was the nice part of the camp.

 

The Lebanese government are renting the land to UN that are supposed to provide for the people who has got the refugee status, but from my understanding, the Lebanese people are not happy at all with having the Palestinian refugees in their country. Lebanese authorities have decided that Palestinian refugees are not allowed to work in Lebanon, 72 different skills, not even if they are qualified as a medical doctor.

But the thing is that we are humanitarian workers and our task is to give ambulances to people in need, regardless ethnicity, we are not politicians, nonetheless, it is very difficult to avoid the political angle of the problem.

 

We also handed over the Ambulance keys to the authority of TAKAFUL, an organisation that are working with strengthen the women’s and children’s right in the Palestinian refugee camp society. They are doing a very good job. And as they also were pointing out when they got the ambulance keys; It is important to turn the head from, ethnicity and religion when helping people, the main thing is to look upon every human being equal, and help the one that are in need of help. Personally, that is my philosophy as well, that is one of the great reasons why I am doing this in the first place.

 

After visiting the refugee camps we actually went to ‘Bay Rock’ a very nice restaurant, which is surreal, because it is very alien from the camps. I am not sure how to think about it, because it is two different worlds. But I am very grateful being me, and I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to see both worlds. It is quite difficult to write about this without making it sound… I can not even find the right words for it.

 

 

Today has been a different day, and I will need time to reflect and making sense of everything I have seen and heard from all the people I have met in the Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut.

To be continued..

 

 

 

 

 


Breakfast at seven,  it was almost a sleep in. It was a very nice breakfast with egg and a lot of cheese, but I find it a wee bit odd that half of the breakfast buffet is filled with sweet cookies, baklawas and stuff like that. I guess that is something that differs from Sweden; we don not use as much sugar as they do in Asia and the Middle East. Anyway, we manage to get on the flight in time and it all went very smooth. But when we arrived  Istanbul at none, we knew that the flight to Beirut was an evening flight, at 2030. We had to do the best of it so half the group went into the nearest town and the rest of us bought a coffee and sat down in some cosy sofas. To be honest we sat there and talked for four hours before we went through the security gate. Inside the gates we had some dinner and played some snooker.

After a short while the rest of the group cam and we did some more talking, it was very nice actually to do nothing, it has been a tough drive and we have not have had the time to reflect on the journey until now.

 

The flight to Beiru twas a bit bumpy and I was a wee bit scared when we were flying in for landing in Beirut, it was heavy rain and thunder, and the landing was slightly wobbly. Yet we touched the ground safe and sound.

 

TAKAFUL people and Mohammed from Nordic Help came to pick us up at the airport at 2230 and took us to the hotel, well to the place we are going to sleep anyway.

 

To be continued..