When Lilianne moved from Tehran to Dubai, she decided to once again walk rather than fly to her new destinations. The 4000 km walk from Tehran to Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf and onwards from Ras al Khaimah via Dubai to Muscat in Oman was called the ‘Caravan of Hope’. This caravan was undertaken with the following goals:

    • to raise money to build a mother and child clinic for Palestinian refugees.
    • To demonstrate to the world that the Middle East was a perfectly safe place for a western woman to walk through, and
    • To retrace the caravan route of old that connected the court of Tehran to the rich countries of the Arabian Peninsula

'Caravan of Hope' what is it about?

Three years after Lilianne and her camels walked from Damascus to Tehran to raise money for a “well woman’s clinic” in Palmyra , Syria , she started on her second journey, the “Caravan of Hope”.

Her first journey, the ‘Caravan for Cancer’ as it was called, was a great success, not only because it raised enough money to build and open a clinic which now serves the Bedouin woman in the desert around Palmyra, but also because it demonstrated that the Middle East was a perfectly safe place to travel, even for a woman on her own. The clinic in Palmyra was opened in 2002 and marked the end of that particular Caravan.

In 2003 it was time to start planning for the next leg of her journey. In the second half of that year she walked from Tehran , along the length of Iran , to Nain. There she was told by the Iranian police to load her camels on the truck and drive to Bandar Abbas on the Gulf. She took a boat across to Ras al Khaimah and continued walking through the United Arab Emirates southwards to Oman. This route took her along the caravan routes of yesteryear; retracing the footsteps of the camel caravans which carried goods to and from the rich countries of the Arabian Peninsula to the court of Tehran.

The ‘Caravan of Hope’ was dedicated to the plight of the Palestinian people. After the terrible devastation that has been inflicted on them and on the infrastructure in their country, Lilianne dedicate any sponsorship that she received for this trip to helping rebuild a Mother and Child clinic in Jordan near the Palestinian territories.

In these troubled times, when the Middle East is nearly always portrayed in the international media as a centre of war and insecurity, she also hoped through her trip to demonstrate that the region still is a haven of tranquillity and perfectly safe to travel through, as soon as you are outside of localised hotspots.

By reaching out a hand of friendship to the Palestinian people who are so much in need of our support, she aimed to rekindle some hope for a better future that will see the Middle Eastern region living in peace and mutual respect.

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