As I prepare to leave the U.S. bound for Gaza, I’ve been telling many people about my plans. The reactions have been all over the map.
1) Surprise and disbelief. These are usually the folks who I forgot to tell earlier about my plans. They had no idea I was even planning such travel.
2) Admiration. Many well-wishers have told me they “admire” me and think I’m doing something “awesome” and “brave.” I can’t help but wonder if I went anywhere else on the planet, would it be considered bravery?
3) Supportive. A number of friends and family have shared words of encouragement which really mean alot to me, especially when I feel weak in the knees.
4) Dismissive. A few do not wish to discuss it with me. We will just have to agree to disagree because they say we sit on different sides of the “issue.” Actually, these are the people I most wish I could engage, but maybe sometime in the future.
5) Worry and concern. I know some are worrying about my move to Gaza because they are concerned about my safety. I wish I could reassure them that everything will be alright, but we never know. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow.
6) Skepticism. Some want to know why am I really going? What do I think I can accomplish? They doubt that I will be able to maintain any objectivity.
7) Envy. A couple of friends seem jealous. They would jump into my suitcase if they could.
I am one lucky lady. I know I wouldn’t be traveling to Gaza without the help of my friends, Samir, Mohamed and Refaat. Getting to know each of them via email and Facebook has been one of the highlights of this past year for me.