Good humour in our food queue
Today we did a food distribution. The queue was long, and people were hungry. As a new volunteer, I was expecting them to get more impatient, but their calm and tolerance really moved me.
One guy made me laugh. He did try to sneak back in line a second time, but a volunteer noticed and asked him to wait for everyone else to get their food. He just gave a cheery shrug and smiled, as if to see “well who wouldn’t try?” You could understand it, and you had to admire how he’d kept his sense of humour going.
I must admit I hadn’t thought about the psychological, practical and logistical considerations with managing a queue. I don’t know about you, but even when I’m having the easiest and most comfortable day, with no pressures of hunger or thirst or shelter, I’m instantly on edge when queuing. Is someone pushing in ahead of me? Will someone get that last train seat? How slow can the person at the till possibly be?
And so it must be for these refugees, however tolerant, patient and appreciative they are.
Later, one more experience volunteer told me that once, someone who she had sent back for pushing in came to her at the end of the distribution to apologise.
He said he would never have done this normally, but he had been trying to get food for his wife and children, he said. They were hungry, and he was so worried, he had panicked. Once he had got some food, he felt better.
That’s the kind of stress that people are under here, and the way refugees handle it is amazing. I felt proud to be part of the Care4Calais operation helping them.
To volunteer or donate go to care4calais.org