Mo’s Eggs – from Calais to London
Mo’s Eggs really started in The Jungle, the infamous Calais refugee settlement that was dismantled in October 2016. He cooked because it helped him, it was a normal thing to do, and he could be in the present and enjoy things like friendship and food like he did back in Syria.
“Cooking saved me in many ways, it filled my belly and it filled my soul. It always will! Every day when we were eating, I would say, “Things get better habibis,” and they did.”
“Mo’s Eggs will officially be one year old next month. I had no idea this is where I would be today whilst I was sitting there stirring those lentils in the Jungle”
“In the Jungle I just had a small gas cooking stove and one large pan. We could only cook with ingredients donated to us by charities. Making delicious food and sharing this, eating from one pan altogether, was my way of giving back the love I was shown during this difficult time of my life.”
Mohamad Rahima was one of the Care4Calais Syrian volunteer interpreters in the jungle. He helped our volunteers with Arabic translation and interpretation when we went tent to tent distributing aid to the residents of the camp.
After distributions he would invite everyone back to his tent for dinner and would cook sensational Syrian dishes.
“I didn’t know how to cook before I got to Calais. But one day my friend broke his leg trying to cross at night, I had to look after him and that meant I had to cook for him. My mum was still in Damascus and I would call her for help and she would guide me through recipes to cook with the ingredients I had.”
“Thinking about that now is strange, she should have been calling me for help as she was still stuck in a country at war. But I guess your mum’s always your mum, the first one you go to for help?”
Mohamed began experimenting with the food donations he was given and slowly but surely he became famous for his mouth watering eggs with tomato sauce and fresh naan bread from the camp’s afghan bakeries. Everyone loved to eat “Mo’s Eggs”. It became part of the daily routine for the volunteers and interpreters to teach each other their languages and share stories over a hot pan of great food.
Shortly after the Jungle was demolished, Mohamad made it to the UK in the back of a lorry. In no time, his Jungle Eggs gained a reputation across the channel too. Cooking helped him to connect with people around him. It was a distraction during the long wait to hear from the Home Office about his asylum claim. He created recipes and tested them on his friends. Once he got his refugee status, he decided to keep sharing his Jungle Eggs by setting up London’s first Syrian brunch pop-up that has been an amazing success.
Former Care4Calais volunteers have always supported him and this has made a real difference to his life in the UK and helped him develop his business. He cooks for 100 people in Archway every month and his contagious good energy has been picked up on by regular guests and the media.
His next brunch will be this Sunday 14th July – but the bad news is it’s already sold out. However you absolutely must go if you’re in London and have the chance another time, because it’s quite an experience. There’s Syrian coffee and an incredible feast, all to the sound of Arabic music. Follow Mo’s Egg’s on Facebook for news about the next event!
The friendships our volunteers make in Calais are real and lasting, they have a huge impact on the refugees’ lives, for the better. Emotional support while waiting for asylum is precious and helps people move on from the horrific journeys many have had.