A modest complaint….
Last night we arrived in Ancona, a coastal town on the East coast of Italy, at approximately 3 o’ clock. The accomodation for the night was to be a massive empty car park belonging to the main stadium in the small city. As the sunset, the cold started to kick in, and with no toilets or facilities of any kind we began to set up camp for the night. Alhumdulillah, I did manage to find an internet cafe in the town center to post some pics, but the brothers I was with didn’t want to wait for me so I couldn’t write an update.
Although you wouldn’t expect to bump into any Muslims in this part of the world, we did come accross some Muslims and some brothers and we were treated with much hospitality. A pair of Brothers from the convoy were in a pizza shop and finished paying for their pizza and on the way out they noticed some Quranic caligraphy displayed in the shop. They approached the owner and explained how they were stopping off in Ancona on their way to catch a ferry to Greece and making their way to Gaza. The owner went outside to see the van and began to cry. He then took them back into the shop and offered them there money back for the pizza’s and offered them some donations as well as a place to stay the night in the apartment downstairs.
The fortunate brothers also managed to take a shower and get fed free pizza the whole night. This story also brings to mind the donations offered by one Turkish Muslim we met in Germany who gave us a 1000 Euros and an Algerian man in Italy who gave us 200 Euros. May Allah reward all those who have donated.
In the morning after a freezing night in the car park, we prayed Fajr, which takes some psyching up due to the cold, we managed to get a cup of coffee and a waffle, which I have been living on for the last few days. In fact, I have developed cravings for these waffles that my brother bought two boxes of. Thats why I have to blame him for it. Alhumdulillah the coffee does the trick, although its not anything like the coffee from my coffee machine at home. Hot water for tea/coffee is like gold out here, anytime I get my cooker out for hot water I get a big swarm of brothers who happen just to be chatting to us, laughing and joking, with their eyes fixed on the kettle boiling. So the hot water in the kettle gets passed around and then suddenly they’re gone. USERS!!!! LOL
Anyway enough complaints and moans although if I start now, I won’t stop. MashaAllah its soo true the statement of Umar (ra) that you never know someone until you do one of three things with a person, travel/business/live. That along with the common phrase that a few days of travelling is like years of studying. Sisters please be aware, stop spoiling your husbands, some brothers need mothering here.
By the way thats one thing that drives me mad, incompetent men. As I always say: It’s important to be able to look after yourself as if you can’t live without your wife/mum your not a man. OK enough moaning.
So after a bit of coffee we set off to the port, only a couple of minutes drive, but even that can be a very daunting task navigating your way through the city in a large convoy, but without too many complications we arrived alhumdulillah.
Before we set off from London we expected the prices of the ferry from Italy to Greece to be very expensive, but alhumdulillah it wasn’t half what we anticipated so we paid 200Euros for my minibus which has been named ‘yellow submarine’ and the 7.5 tonne truck called ‘big boy’ for 460 Euros. Those are the names we use over the CB radio. So if you see a yellow van anywhere on the news then that’s ours. I am sure it is the only yellow vehicle on the convoy. The 7.5 tonne truck, ‘big boy’ is where majority of the aid is that the brothers/sisters donated so please make dua for it to arrive safely as well as those driving it and involved in delivering it.
There was a bit of a mix up at the port after buying the tickets we realised that the time of departure was not 16:30 as viva palestina scheduled rather it was 13:30. Oh well, so much for the press conference. So we started boarding about 11:30 when we noticed some residents in Ancona who were members of a Palestinian support group hanging up banners behind a wire fence, which was quite sad as they planned to meet us, but it was too short notice and their member could not make it in time, furthermore we were boarding earlier than planned. It’s a shame the publicity is not that great, even before we left, there was not that much awareness about it.
After boarding we made our way upstairs onto the deck where we prayed Jumua’ and managed to slip in time for a shower. Alhumdulillah the water was piping hot and I feel nice and fresh. Despite feeling clean, I am not a happy bunny, by the time I found some where to place my belongings and went to the canteen it was closed. I was fumming!!!!! It took me soo long to find someone with a cabin that would look after our stuff, we missed the food, we didn’t realise it would close. We didn’t buy a cabin trying to save 53 Euros’ each which is a lot of money that I would rather the people in Palestine receive. Sleeping on the deck is not a problem, it’s just we have no where to put our stuff.
It’s really annoying as they will not let us access our vehicles so what ever we need we have to take. InshaAllah apparently we were told the canteen will be open at 19:30 and we will also be able to access the vehicle then. As you can imagine, in this environment rumours spread like a wild fire, and we always hear many things that are far from the truth so we will see.
We have until the morning, until we arrive, so for now I will just make the most of the time on this ferry which to my standards is quite luxury.
InshAllah I will keep you updated depending on internet access.
Asalamu alaykum wr wb