Lilianne Donders

Lilianne has been fascinated with the Middle East and its historic trade routes. That combined with her love for her camels led her to taking on this monumental challenge. More can be found about her and her passions at

photo by Adam Gault

Robert Weener

Lilianne’s husband of 28 years. Robert is a physicist and in many aspects Lilianne’s opposite; and as all physicists know: opposites attract. He works for Shell and is currently posted in Tehran. Robert moved to Oman in 1980, Syria in 1987, Norway in 1990, UK in 1993, Syria again in 1997 and finally to Iran in 2000. This provided both of them the opportunity to explore the Middle East far and wide and to be part of the renaissance of this area. Intrigued by the Bedouin life they often went into the desert and finally traded in a 4-WD drive car for camels – those most dependable ships of the desert.


Jasper Weener

Jasper was born in 1979, only months before the family moved to Oman. Jasper therefore grew up among the sand dunes and sunny beaches of that beautiful country. During the many travels to the interior of Oman, Jasper made many friends of his age among the Bedouin tribes. Now 20 years later many of them have married and even become a father. However, the friendship endures. Jasper has graduated in Computer Sciences at the University College London and took the opportunity of finishing his Master’s degree to take a sabbatical year and join the Caravan of Hope soon after it left from Tehran.


Sander Weener

Sander was born in 1982 in Oman. His third name, Fahmi, reminds him of his Arabic roots. Sander is studying Politics and Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, part of the University of London. He takes every opportunity to return to the Middle East to join his parents in the travels through the sands. He participated with the Caravan of Hope at every opportunity.

Ghassan A'Saleh

Ghassan lives in Palmyra, Syria with his wife and two sons. He hooked up with Lilianne when her Caravan for Cancer passed through Palmyra in 2000. Ghassan comes from a Bedouin tribe of Syria and is an expert on camels. He has a small souvenir shop among the ruins of Palmyra and also organizes safari trips into the desert for tourists using his own camels. He walked with Lilianne every day helping to keep the unruly camels in line. He was very keen to participate in the Caravan of Hope 4 years later and traveled to Tehran to join the trip. During the 7 month journey his second son was born.


Taha Mroweh

Taha lives in Palmyra, Syria with his wife and four children. He is the proud owner of a 10-tonne truck with which he regularly ferries goods from Syria to Iraq. He was chosen by Lilianne in 2000 to take her camels through the mountains of Turkey, during her Caravan for Cancer trip from Damascus to Tehran. When the Caravan of Hope started in 2003, Taha was asked once again, and accepted, to take part with the logistics. He would pack the camp back into his truck when the caravan had left for the day’s journey. Then drive the 30 or so kilometers to the next camp and unpack and set up everything in preparation for the arrival of the caravan. Taha is an excellent cook and always had the tea ready when the caravaneers reached the camp after an exhausting day.


website by Jasper Weener
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