Driving into the Jungle on Monday, we passed a group of refugees navigating the banks at the side of the road, their suitcases catching on the rubble behind them. It was a new sight to me, and it didn’t sit right. I know they weren’t leaving because they wanted to. They were leaving because they were forced out. By tear gas and truncheons and bulldozers.
There were no buses to take them on to alternative accommodation that day, and the container camp is now full. Where will they go? I wonder if they even know, when they set off with just the clothes on their back and the most they can quickly grab from their homes?
The Jungle is currently split.
Turn north and you’re met with the familiar ‘hello’s’ from passers-by, the freshly cooked naan bread, the invitations for tea that we have grown to know and love.
Turn south and you find the land scarred, marked with the shadows where homes used to be. Bleakness and sadness radiate from where the police stand guard of the bulldozers, looking at you with long, unwavering stares. They definitely want you to feel intimidated.
But they are no match for the children of the camp. The children of peace who offered white flowers to their shield-wielding arms.
They are no match for the residents who share all they have with you, because there is truly no other way they know how to be.
They are no match for the resilience, for the humanity, for the beauty and hope, that grows from the muddied earth.
They are no match for you guys, for your kindness, your generosity.
Spending time in the camp right now is hard, constant reminders of the absence of friends, forced to moved on, the familiarity and life of the place, lost.
However, there is hope. Visiting the warehouse was a firm reminder of what can be achieved, and the power we have if we all stand together. Empty shelves had been filled with sleeping bags, tents and warm clothes. Emergency packs were ready to hand out to those leaving their homes, and welcome packs prepared for those finding new ones. With the opening of the new camp at Grande Synthe, the generosity of people like you guys is so hugely apparent. The perseverance of the volunteers, and the entire presence of the completely grassroots funded and run warehouse stand as a beacon, still burning bright.
Thanks to your incredible support and donations, and to our beautiful friends at RefugEase, we arrived with a van loaded from floor to ceiling with urgently needed items, soon followed by a delivery of 100 warm blankets.
Again, we have shown the power of unity. Again, we have shown that people care. Again, we have shown that light will prevail.
As things continue to change, we know that this one thing at least, will continue to stay the same.
Thank you to tribe members Jess, Jo and Helen for making this donation drop happen and for these beautiful pictures.