Back To The Jungle, Maybe The Last Time

We’re on our way back to the Jungle this morning, maybe for the last time.

I can’t wait to be back with my pals there, especially at such an uncertain time. The camp is closing. Their homes are being taken away. I don’t know what they’re expecting or feeling or planning to do, but I do know they will be dignified and strong and brave, whatever it is.

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Tribe member Bea has been keeping me updated with what’s happening on the ground. She says:

“People are trying to make some kind of plan.

Despondent and defeated, they realise they have no choice but to move on again. Some will go to other countries, some will try and seek asylum in France and some will still dream of getting to the UK.

It’s too exhausting to keep trying, too difficult to keep running, and impossible to stay anyway.

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I’ve been talking to as many residents in the camp as I possibly can, trying to spread as much information as we have about the eviction (we don’t really have any), and their rights (they basically have none).

Yesterday I was walking through the camp with my friend Anas, a Syrian guy I’ve known for ages.

I love our conversations because he’s incredibly intelligent and energetic in his explanations and theorising about life, but mostly I love them because he has an incredibly dirty sense of humour.

Anas and I stopped by a shop to grab some cigarettes and were (of course) invited in.

I took the opportunity to talk through the information I had with the three Afghani men minding the shop.

In the meantime, Anas took a seat on a pile of blankets that immediately collapsed under him, to the panicked exclamations of the three Afghanis….

Turns out, that innocent looking pile of blankets hung over the open flame of a gas fire…an ingenious heating system, the guys had worked out! So basically Anas had almost sent the whole shop up in flames by sitting on it.

We couldn’t stop laughing.

We stayed and chatted for a while about the impending closure of the camp, what their plans could be and how I could help. I’m going to take a tent to them tomorrow, ready for their onward journey.

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The shop owner handed us two cans of coke and point blank refused any money. Anas took an apple out of his pocket and insisted they take it. It made my heart break.

It’s amazing to still find laughter and community, compassion and lightness in a time like this.”

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