The summer season at Green and Away is over for another year, the days are growing shorter and it is time to re-evaluate work. Green and Away was a great success this year with great events and wonderful volunteers and already there are two bookings for next summer plus we hope to have the brilliant Pantaloons back to perform in the open air.
However things are not looking so good for our Bedouin friends in Sinai at the moment. With the political instability and outbreaks of violence in Cairo and other parts of Egypt, St Catherine’s Monastery has been shut by the government with devastating effects for the local Bedouin. They have been relying on tourists visiting the monastery and then climbing Mt Sinai to give them work through serving tourists in cafes, taking them on camel treks, selling local produce and providing accommodation. St Catherine’s is a small town with almost no other employment on offer so the effects of this action are being felt by everyone. With no income, the camel men are struggling as they can’t afford the £2 a day to feed their camels and are having to sell them. For camel men this is a desperate measure as their camels represent their business and their future income. If they sell now they will have money but no source of income when the monastery reopens and a bedouin without his camel is like a man with no arms.
Despite the fact that St Catherine’s remains calm and peaceful, people will not travel there and yet what the Bedouin need most is visitors. There are two journeys scheduled for next spring and we hope they will go ahead but it is difficult to publicise them in the current atmosphere of uncertainty. There must be some people with a sense of adventure and who are happy to enjoy the peacefulness of the Sinai mountains.
We are about to launch an appeal to help the Bedouin camel men. Shortly there will be a donation page on the Just Giving website where people can sponsor a camel for anything from one day £2, to a month £60. Anything donated will help a lot. More details to follow…
Meanwhile back to the loathed admin to keep G&A on track for next year.
For more information about the situation in St Catherine’s, Sinai, see the article in The Guardian newspaper.