In mud and rain, a sleeping bag is precious
Today my friend showed me around his new home. It’s a small tent hidden away in a marshy part of the Calais jungle. To get there, the only possible route is down a bank where the water level rose above my boots. His tent was surrounded by mud and even inside everything was soaking wet, including his only blanket.
He told me that it’s been like this for a while. It rained a lot this morning in Calais and all I could think about was how his tent would get even more sodden, with no tarpaulin to protect it. That new site where he is sleeping is almost completely waterlogged, but it’s one of the few remaining spots away from the town centre where the trees haven’t been bulldozed yet and people can rest.
When I visited him and around 100 others this morning to let them know about our afternoon distribution so they wouldn’t miss out, my friend was carrying his sleeping bag on his back. It’s so valuable to him that he refuses to leave it inside the tent when he’s not there. I noticed other tents were empty too, so more people must have carried their sleeping bags with them throughout the day to keep them safe.
We were able to distribute sleeping bags in Calais this week with help from our friends at Collective Aid and I can’t even describe how happy people were. I was handling the hairdressing station that day and everyone who came for a trim asked me to hold onto their sleeping bags because they were too precious to leave unattended. Rather than helping with hair I ended up mostly holding onto a pile of sleeping bags that afternoon!
As nights get colder and wetter the demand for warm shelter increases, and it is only thanks to your generosity that we can help. For £6 we can keep a vulnerable person warm with a sleeping bag, and for £12 we can keep them protected with a two-person tent. To contribute visit care4calais.org/emergency-appeal