Hi from Benghazi Libya… flew here from Tunis early yesterday morning after the Sfax, Tunisia – Misrata boat hit a snag. My place on last thursday’s boat was sabotaged by over-protective Libyan friends, but it was a blessing in disguise. The boat left 3 days after schedule. Many of the injured, and even a dead body, patiently waited on the boat those 3 days because they couldn’t afford hotels in the meantime.
I had been told the boat was small, sexy, fast. But friends on the boat told me otherwise. They said it was like one of the boats refugees take to Lampedusa: unsafe, too small. Once they set sail waves were reportedly 7 meters/21 feet high. Water actually began crashing into the boat. Those on the boat were survivors of war and injury, yet many said the boat ride was the scariest experience of their lives. The captain informed them that after 9 hours at sea they would need to turn around or the boat would sink.
They tried to dock in Djerba, but were refused. They could only get permission to dock in Gabes, about 3 hours from Sfax, where they began their journey. Many couldn’t afford the bus fare to Sfax, so they are still on the boat, asking that the next boat — an old, slow, giant, but secure one — stop in Gabes before Sfax. They’re waiting until Thursday with fingers crossed. The dead body was transported back to Tunis, it won’t be going to Misrata.
What can I say about Benghazi? Sadly, my first impressions are more about cost than anything (it’s blood expensive). I only know people in Misrata and Zintan, so not really gelling w/ the city so far. It wasn’t my plan to come here, but i was told I’d have much better luck catching a boat to Misrata from Benghazi. Unfortunately boats aren’t running as often as they were from Benghazi either. I may need to catch a flight to Malta to catch the boat to Misrata. Inshallah i make it to the famed city of heros (my friends), Misrata. It’s all up to the logistics Gods now…