Bussed out of Beirut
By SALLY GORDON
THE past week has been a sleepless one for Jill and Bernie Gill. Since last Wednesday Mr and Mrs Gill, of South Grafton, have been on edge waiting to hear if their granddaughter Amelia Hewson escaped safely from a Middle East nightmare. Grafton born Ms Hewson, a student at Dubai University, was in the middle of a language test in Lebanon when an Israeli airstrike bombed Beirut International Airport. Mr and Mrs Gill said their 25-year-old granddaughter, who is now safely back in Kuwait, was only two kilometres from the airport when the shells hit. "She was determined to finish her test when the shells started falling," they said. "She was quite annoyed to think they were disturbing the test because she'd studied so hard and thought she mightn't get to finish." By last Sunday however finishing an exam was the least of Amelia's troubles when the bombings increased and reached within a kilometre of where she was staying. Mr and Mrs Gill said that by this stage Amelia had been instructed to stay indoors. The South Grafton couple had been keeping track of Amelia's movements through a series of text messages from Amelia's mother Jenny who currently is based in Kuwait. It was through one text, the anxious grandparents said they found out Amelia had made it onto one of two Australian buses that were headed to the Syrian border. The buses travelled north east to the Syrian border where they encountered a nine-hour delay before travelling to Amman in Jordan. From Amman, Amelia caught a flight to Kuwait where she finally met up with her relieved mother. The Gills said that during the past week there had been many sleepless nights. "It was a very stressful week with little sleep," Mr and Mrs Gill agreed. "The Gill family is now back to normal but feel for those families still going through the ordeal. "There was no guarantee of the buses getting through because there was corruption at the border, we heard people were having to pay hundreds of dollars to get out.