Meet Clover and Dulcie, mother-daughter dream team
This is me and Dulcie, the mother-daughter dream team in Calais. I’m one of the oldest volunteers here and at 18 she’s certainly the youngest. I can’t tell you how proud I am of her for what she’s doing, but I must admit I was slightly apprehensive about coming with her. I was concerned that it might be too much for us to handle. For my part, I was worried I might not have the emotional strength to cope with the things we would see – and I was uncertain as to how Dulcie would react.
But what I found is that however difficult our day is – and there are moments in each day that are indeed heart-wrenchingly difficult – it’s always counterbalanced by the sense of reward that comes from contributing positively to another person’s day. However small that contribution may be, whether it’s warm clothes, food, new shoes or even just a friendly football match. There’s always a balance.
I didn’t come with a particular set of expectations, but I can say it’s been a much richer experience than I thought it would be. I was surprised by how much I learned and grew here. Dulcie and I met a whole range of people with such varied life experiences. Refugees fluent in German, French, Italian, Spanish and English; bright young men with impressive university degrees and a thirst for learning; protective mums and dads who would do anything for their children.
From a humanitarian aspect, it’s been great learning how to do all sorts of jobs in the warehouse and seeing how the organisation works. The other volunteers are a pretty special bunch, too. To be working alongside them is a privilege.
It’s also a brilliant opportunity to understand the conditions here and the political issues at stake. Most people know about it in a vague way – they know it’s a horrendous situation, but that’s it. To see it in its raw, awful, everyday form is powerful. Now I feel I have much more informed point of view to share with others.
Dulcie and I would recommend this experience to anyone. We had so many interesting conversations and met such lovely people in Calais and Dunkirk. It can be tough at times, but the moments of togetherness that we share with total strangers make it all worth it.
– written by Clover, a Calais volunteer
To volunteer in Calais go to care4calais.org/get-involved