The Calais Jungle is still very much there.
After the authorities bulldozed the southern part of the camp earlier this year, things seemed to go a bit quiet. There wasn’t so much news, not much word of what was going on, and with our team working all over the world, we didn’t have the chance to head there ourselves, until yesterday.
It was a bright day, the sun was beating down hard and the muddy ground once again resembled the sand dunes we experienced the first time we went to the Jungle, all those months ago.
What was immediately apparent was that there are still thousands of people living in the Jungle. The main street was as busy as ever, with shops and restaurants providing the enticing, delicious world food that we have grown to know and love. People were riding around on donated bicycles and playing football in the street!
There’s also a sense that they’re rebuilding. A lot was lost when the southern part of the camp was destroyed, and it feels like they’re trying to pull the pieces back together. We saw new restaurants being built, and people are settling into their new communities in the northern part of the camp. Strolling across the big expanse of wasteland where the southern camp used to be, it’s littered with the remains of what was there before, but now there’s a brand new sandy football pitch, right in the middle!
I guess there must be some kind of calm now. There aren’t any imminent threats of eviction, and while the future remains unclear and the police have a strong presence, people seem to be going about their lives as normal.
Throughout the week I’ll be posting updates about Calais and the ways that you guys can get involved. There are lots of people still living there, and lots of groups trying to help them, but they need your support to continue!
Photos by Shahnaz from Knit Aid