Yesterday we arrived in the camp to begin installing wifi in the four planned areas of the Jungle. The Miracle Street trailer by the Doctors of the World tent, Alpha’s art studio (and original school), the Church and Library (next to each other), and the Ashram Kitchen (next to the new school for the increasing number of children arriving.)
We had a car and van full of equipment that looked very alien to me…wires and long poles and a pair of wire cutters that a lot of the inhabitants of the camp were very keen to take (haha!)
When we drove the van into the camp and opened the doors, the customary line of people quickly formed out of the back of it, with everyone peering inside with interest. People started running towards us to see what we were distributing, but soon dispersed, happily, back to their tents when we explained what we were actually doing.
Everyone seemed over the moon at the prospect of the internet. Not only does this bring them communication with their families, but also information about their asylum options and equal opportunities with the rest of the connected world.
When the boys were up on top of the miracle street trailer, installing their huge pole, many smiling passers by called up questioningly, ‘Wifi? Wifi?’
We had filled the rest of the van with sleeping bags. (Big shout out to Libby from Calais Action who drove me, the poles, the sleeping bags and mamma Maya back to the camp yesterday…such a dream team!)
Sleeping bags are always desperately needed and we took them straight to the amazing Toby who lives in the camp and deals with new arrivals. This is his caravan, out of which he distributes the essentials to the people he recognizes to have just arrived with nothing. I ask him how he knows a genuine new family from the many cold opportunists who try him for an extra blanket throughout the day.
“I look at their faces.’ He told me. “I can see the fear and disappointment in the expressions of those who have just arrived. And I look at their feet, if their shoes are not yet completely covered in thick mud, I know they cant have been in the camp for long.”