GYMPIE teacher Glenna Mason took the last British flight out of Libya as rioting (and a violent government response) brought the north African nation to the brink of chaos.
Pictured in Libya recently with her partner, Dale (who is still in the strife-ridden country helping the evacuation), she spoke to The Gympie Times from London about her scheduled return to Australia yesterday.
Glenna was working in Libya for a project to give future community leaders and managers necessary practical skills for running the country domestically, with less reliance on ex-patriots in the future.
Glenna got more adventure than she bargained for when she shipped out to Libya in search of an interesting life.
Accepting a teaching offer in the nation’s capital, Tripoli, she did not intend to find herself in the middle of the rioting which has now become a civil war.
Expatriates huddled together and helped each other face escalating street violence, as the government effectively declared war by using military force against demonstrators.
Glenna’s sister, Gympie-based Karen Ellis, said Glenna had accepted the offer to live and work in Tripoli and had felt safe, even in the increasing troubles, thanks to the mutual support of the capital’s close-knit expat community.
“Her partner Dale is part of a group co-ordinating the evacuation of the expats,” Karen said yesterday.
“The expats live in a compound and just getting from there to the airport was a bit scary.
“Then they told her it was time to leave.
She took the last British government evacuation flight out of the country.
“There was a lot of really horrible stuff going on in the streets and people like Glenna were worried that they might be targets, as they were working for a government project.
“She and Dale hope to marry this year if all goes according to plan, but he hasn’t come out yet.
“He’s still there working on the evacuation project.
“Before Libya, she was an expat community teacher in Ethiopia.
“In Libya, when I was working on a project to help Libyans become more self-sufficient, teaching people everything from running businesses to how to be an ambulance officer – anything they would need to know to run the country independently of foreign skills.
“She was quite enjoying it there until now.
“The British and Australian consulates have been amazing in the way they’ve helped.
“She flew out to London and she’ll be staying in Australia for time out for a couple of weeks.
“There is some chance she will return to Libya when things settle down a bit. Last time she rang she was very relieved but quite shaken by the experience,” Karen said.
Glenna told The Gympie Times by email that she was scheduled to return to Australia yesterday or today and would be in Gympie to visit family and friends on Monday.
Meanwhile, Brisbane teacher, Pylama Armet has arrived home after evacuating from her job at the ISM International School, when fighting approached the capital.
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