This is the second report from the Camp, sent by the Sumud Brigade after 10 days from the beginning of the mission.
Saturday, August 29th – 3.00 AM, Refugee Camp of 'Ein el-Hilweh
reproduced from www.sumud.org
We have now been 10 days in the camp.
Every one is okay, but we're also really tired. Everyday we work to the renovation in the morning, then some more in the afternoon, and we often have activities in the late afternoon and the evening. But of course we also feel the need to spend time with each other and chat, and usually we're free only after dinner: therefore we tend to go to bed quite late and sleep only a few hours.
We now have an internet connection inside the building (we are staying in the same building we're working on), but electricity (“karaba” in Arabic, a word everybody has learned) tends to come and go at unlikely times during the day, and we only have one laptop computer.
The renovation work is going on, even if we are a little late: we have finished painting most of the rooms, the electricity infrastructure is finished, and the bathroom is well on its way. We have finished re-painting the windows and the doors. We have also fixed the low walls at the entrance, but most of the work on the exterior is still to do. A professional will come to build a canopy on the main yard and give it a concrete floor. Then we will start working on the outer walls. We lack a little coordination but all in all we think we're doing fine.
Cultural activities: we have had a meeting with two representatives of the Popular Committee, which is an adminstrative body of the camp. They explained how the Committee works and what its functions are. The Committee is not elected but composed of representatives of the PLO parties who are appointed by the parties themselves, and therefore is not universally considered as legitimate. The so-called pro-Syrian factions also have a different committee of their own.
We also visited the al-Nidaa hospital, to which a new wing is being added, and on our way there and back saw a little more of the camp, the streets, the narrow alleys, and the main market, which is incredibly lively and crowded.
On Friday we participated in the commemoration for Abu Ali Mustafa, the former secretary general of PFLP, who was assassinated by Zionists in 2001.
Planned activities: tomorrow we will meet representatives from the main groups in the camp (Fatah, Hamas, Salafis).
On Sunday we will have a trip to the south of Lebanon and visit some significant places related to the 2006 Israeli attack.
In addition we already asked for permission to enter the refugee camp Nahr el Bared near Tripoli, which was destroyed by the Lebanese military two years ago.