My name is Ben Jansen. I served in the M.F.O. (Multinational Force and Observers) from July '94 till January '95. I was stationed in North Camp at El Gorah. This is about 15 Km from the Gaza strip. My function was Desk Sergeant in the Comcen (Communication Center).
We were located in the Sinai dessert . Since the location of North Camp was only 20 Km from the Israeli border next to the Gaza Strip, cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were only a couple of hours away. Sometimes when we had a day off, and if we could use the leave car, we went to Jerusalem and to the Dead Sea. In Jerusalem is a lot to see. It's very interesting to see the remains of the several religions.
View over Jerusalem.
One of the interesting spots in Jerusalem is of course the Whaling Wall. All day long you can see people praying. Especially on the Sabbath it's very busy.
Just one hour driving, east of Jerusalem, you will find the Dead Sea. This sea is 400 m. below sealevel. Therefore the climate in this area is warm and dry. The air is very clean. The water in the Dead Sea has a very high salt level. This makes things float a lot better. There are several hotels along the Dead Sea. It is advised to only take a swim at these spot's because there are showers on the beach. Swimming, else then at the hotel beaches, is prohibited. The Dead Sea is divided into two lakes. At southern lake are a lot of salt and minerals industries. Personally I like the southern part best. The water is a little bit clearer.
Flying around you see a lot of interesting things. All over the dessert you'll see tanks and vehicles from the several wars. The Sinai itself is very dry. Bedouin's live in tents with their family and cattle. There are hills and a lot of Wadi's. A Wadi is a dry river. Only with heavy rain they contain water.
About 40 Km south of North Camp is Moses Valley. This seems to be the place where Moses hit the rock with his stick and water started floating. It hasn't stopped since...
North Camp is situated about 20 Km west of the Gaza Strip and 10 Km from the Mediterranean sea. It's next to a very small village, El Gorah. There are just a few houses in El Gorah. Seen from the sky you can tell that North Camp is really in the middle of nowhere.
MFO North Camp
On the next photo you see the buildings were most of the Dutch people were living. These buildings are the headquarters and barracks and, more important, the bar. On the photo above the Dutch Contingent is located on the top left of the camp.
The bar was ofcourse, very important. We had two bars in North Camp. There was "The Klompenbar" which was located inside the contingent building. This bar was used during the winter. For the summer period we had an outside bar which was called "The Beergarden". This Beergarden was famous among the MFO North Camp members. Most evenings we had a lot of guests. Probably the rich cocktail mixtures and free Dutch snacks (like cheese, fricandellen, vlammetjes etc.) had something to do with this success. Other famous bars where the French "Moulin Rouge" and the HNSI "Globetrotters".
On a regular bases we organized BBQue's. Also with X-mas. X-mas 1994 was nice and warm.
Celebrating X-mas 1994
Ofcourse the MFO life was not all work and no play... When we had leave, we could use one of the contingent cars to go traveling around. Most of the times these cars where used to travel to the capital of the Sinai, El Arish. This city is about 50 Km from North Camp. Here we went regularly to visit a couple of shops or to eat in a local restaurant. In the shops we mostly purchased (own created) T-shirts. Ofcourse also a lot of typical Egyptian souvenirs where bought.
We also used the cars to drive to South Camp. South Camp is almost 500 Km from North Camp. There were two routes to South Camp. The MSR (Main Supply Route) and the SSR (Second Supply Route). The MSR is a pretty good road which leads along a lot of MFO Observation Posts (OP's) and Control Posts (CP's). The SSR leads along the Israeli border and joins the MSR halfway down the Sinai near CP-3b. The SSR has a stretch of 80 km where the road is just a dirt road. Driving through the dessert is a very nice experience. Like it is shown on the photo above, one of the dangers are sand dunes on the road. The MFO lost several cars because of it.
In South Camp a lot of entertainment was available. Since South Camp is located on the Red Sea coast nearby Sharm El Sheik, one could go diving, spend time on the beach or visit one of the many bars. A lot of DutchCon members went down to South Camp to go diving. Most of us were diving with the