A volunteer’s story
Today in Calais we made a special effort to take out some of our best stuff – new walking boots, power banks and headphones for mobile phones. An unusual distribution but never has it been more needed and, honestly, we were running out of ideas.
Walking boots of course are always a major need. The refugees walk miles every day and, living outside, if their feet get wet they stay wet, leading to foot rot and infections. Boots are expensive but a major part of our work – and a continual challenge to fund.
The bit that’s different now is the absolute depths of morale on the ground. Living conditions are dire; cold, wet, lonely and tired they drag themselves from day to day with no end in sight. As we come out of a bitter and harsh winter, the UK and French authorities are desperate to stamp their authority and ensure that all hope is obliterated.
Nightly raids sap strength and resilience, destruction of the most prized (and irreplaceable) possession – their mobile phones – is crushing, and beatings and arrests deny self esteem and dignity.
So today the only gesture we could make was to take out our most valuable stock item (shoes) together with power banks and headphones that might be a treat. We stood in the rain and the cold and we ate cakes with them and made hot tea. We played football and cricket and, as usual, they won both the games and our hearts.
With their skill and fortitude and smiles and strength I can honestly say there is no one I would rather live next door to; and yes I would be happy to open my home to them if our government would just let me.
Until they do, please help us to help those in northern France that everyone else has forgotten. Please donate here https://goo.gl/jmkx7A