CodePink , the San Francisco-based women's peace organization, assembled an international delegation of 66 that included Barbara Briggs-Ledson of Sebastopol, for a five-day visit to the Gaza Strip early this month, just ahead of President Obama's visit to Egypt. While they were there,the CodePink represetatives were given a letter from the leadership of Hamas to deliver to the President, inviting him to also visit Gaza. Read the letter here .
The sliver of land known as the Gaza Strip comprises just 139 square miles, covering roughly the distance between Sebastopol and Petaluma and extending halfway out to the coast. Home to 1.5 million residents, nearly half of them children and youth, it is intensively urbanized--the refugee camps are blocks of concrete apartment buildings. So Barbara Briggs-Letson says she took particular pleasure in helping bring something colorful for the kids to that scene.
Barbara Briggs-Letson (in white) smiles for the camera along with the Palestinian women who acted as translators for the CodePink visitors. In addition to bringing and assembling the playgrounds, the CodePink delegation visited hospitals and other public facilities, Briggs-Letson says they also met with some of the area's political leaders.
Damaged buildings at every turn were a constant reminder of day-to-day dangers of life in the Gaza Strip, says Briggs-Letson. And there were others, too.
You can see more photos from the Code Pink Gaza delegation's trip here.