Week 15 in Gaza: Goodbyes from Michael Coleman

[Gaza's Ark note: Michael has done a tremendous job in Gaza helping with every stage of the Gaza's Ark project. He has put 4 months of his life on hold to support the Palestinian struggle from Gaza. We will miss him in Gaza, but we know that Michael will continue his solidarity work. A big thank you to Michael, surely shared by his many Palestinian friends.]

Well this will be my last weekly update from Gaza, as my four months in the Strip is almost over. As I write this entry I only have four days left and I am sad and excited all at the same time. Sad to be leaving behind all my new friends, as I unsure when I will get to see them again : [ However excited about my travel plans and knowing that I am on my home to my family and friends, who I have missed so much : ]

After we sent out the email introducing Gaza’s Ark to her share holders and supporter, we felt it was time to introduce her to the media. So this Sunday at 11am in the Port of Gaza we will hold a media event to show Gaza’s Ark to the world. This has meant that I have spent the majority of this week complying a media list, drafting and sending out emails and spending more time on the phone than I care to mention. However it looks like we will have good variety of media in attendance, insharlla, to conduct interviews and witness the initial stages of the transformation of our fishing trawler into a cargo vessel that will attempt to export products Palestinian products from Palestine via the only mediterranean port closed to international shipping. Here is our media advisory for the event >http://www.gazaark.org/2013/06/05/media-advisory-come-and-see-gazas-ark/

While I have not spent a whole lot of time in the port this week, I am pleased to report that the refurbishment process is moving along nicely. We have finished the sanding of the vessel in preparation for the fiber glassing to begin and the last pieces of the winch structure will be removed on Sunday while the media event is underway. You can now follow the progress of the refurbishment process on our website > http://www.gazaark.org/2013/06/05/gazas-ark-photo-album/

There has also been movement on the solidarity item that will be sold through the Gaza Ark project, we have received the prototypes that were commissioned last week and now the products committee have the difficult process of chosing between the wrist band with the Palestinian flag or the wooden brooch in the shape of historical Palestine, with a keffiyeh pattern burnt into the wood or my favourite the heart-shaped brooch painted with the Palestinian flag.

Unfortunately with the media event, work on the solidarity item, documenting the refurbishment process and finalizing plans for my work on the products and civil society endorsements to continue in my absence – my work load has only increased this week, not giving me the time I would have liked to say proper goodbyes to my Gaza peeps. The Gaza Ark Steering Committee have well and truly got their last pound of flesh from me, for month and a bit anyway. However I have had a chance to catch  up with most of the peeps who have supported, encouraged, advised and inspired me during my time in Gaza > Sukran ictir my Gaza peeps, I miss you already!

Myself with Habibi Awni and two of his young cousins : ]

Myself with Habibi Awni and two of his young cousins : ]

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