On the other side of that lock we pulled over and I noticed a man running after us along the shore. He had his phone up taking pictures or videos and he was carrying his motorbike helmet. He caught up with us when we tied up to the bank. Tarik had been at the event at the Arab World Institute and had seen us go by. He chose to follow us, and then got off his motorbike and ran. He was thrilled to be invited to step onto the boat "Filestine." He got a Boat to Gaza T-shirt and was overjoyed. A lady was walking down the wharf and stopped. She took pictures as well and mentioned that her son was with Me'decins Sans Frontières in Gaza.
The boats really offer a bonding of people for common consciousness and humanity. My last night on board the "Mairead" we got to a Ablons, near Orly. I ended up joining the "Filestine" crew for a conversation as they finished dinner and learned how Swedish crew member Bjorn works with mentally ill people, building their self-confidence and showing them tasks they can complete to ensure they feel like they are contributing. I also talked with Jan, the 82 year old captain who is going the whole length of the trip from Sweden to Gaza. He is very calm but unwavering in his stand for doing what is right. We talked about raising children and global warming. He is a wise and kind soul.
My week with the crews and boats of the 2018 Gaza Flotilla has been life-changing -- meeting people from all over the world who are in solidarity with Palestine and who each day bring the plight of Palestinians to their communities.
As I return to Houston, Texas, I will continue to work in my community to talk about Gaza and the horrific conditions in which the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza live. Bon Voyage to the four boats of the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla as they continue on the 75-day trip from Scandinavia around and through Europe to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.