It’s Not A Camp, It’s A Slum

Man Smiling in the Calais Jungle

Third time in the camp and the more I talk to people, the more I understand and the more I learn about the situation, the sadder and angrier I get.

I’m actually not going to call it a camp any more, I’m going to call it a slum. The word camp implies a centralised structure, some kind of organisation, some form of system or framework to even at least acknowledge new arrivals. There is nothing like that.

The shock in the faces of people as they attempt to set themselves up for their first night in the ‘jungle’ is heartbreaking. No tents, sleeping bags, blankets or food…after months/years of struggle, where are you even supposed to start? How do you manage to summon any more strength or morale?

Photo by Brendan Waterman

It’s beautiful to see little communities rally together, squeezing extra people into tents and sharing food. And still smiling. But someone needs to take responsibility for especially these women and children that are turning up with nowhere to go and no options. In France.

How has this happened? How is this the way that it is!? We can’t keep diffusing this responsibility from country to country, feeding ourselves with false bits of information to justify to ourselves what is happening around us, pushing the problem away from our little bubbles. I personally believe that each and every one of us has a little responsibility for the people we share this world with, especially those of us who don’t have the worry of survival on a daily basis.

This doesn’t take much. Just an awareness of what is going on, a level of compassion and a thought or two of kindness towards those who need all the support that they can get right now.