I can’t stop thinking about the boy I met yesterday as I sat at the entrance of the Jungle handing out information in different languages.
He hung around for a little while, super shy and suppper skinny. I kept smiling at him until he quietly came over and sat down on the wooden structure I was sitting on too.
His name was Adam.
He told me he was from Sudan and he was 17. He looked older, but as he wrote his date of birth in the sand, 01/03/1999…I could see that he was young. Yes he face was worn with emotion and pain..his eyes were red and his fingers were wrinkled and dry, but he had the innocence and vulnerability of a child.
I gave him a pain au chocolat. At first he was hesitant to take it but when I encouraged him, he started eating it really hungrily. I gave him a banana too and he lifted his jumper and put it in his pocket, revealing just how many layers he was wearing over his skinny little body.
He looked down at the ground as he ate… I couldn’t help but watch him. There was something about him that just broke my heart. Even thinking about him now, I get that feeling welling up inside me. He was literally radiating pain and trauma. I don’t know how else to describe it. Everything in his body and his face just screamed that he needed help, loud and clear, yet he was so quiet.
He wanted to ask me something but he didn’t speak much English. He slowly plucked up the courage to try, and asked me carefully….
“Which bus…for England?”
My heart broke.
I tried to explain where the busses were going, to different locations across France. I tried to explain what he had to do, where he had to register. I gave him the information pack in Arabic but he just stared at it blankly.
“Jungle Finish?” he asked me quietly.
I could hardly contain the emotion.
He sat next to me for hours. I just wanted to hug him, to do SOMETHING to make him feel like things would be OK. He was so gentle, so sweet.
But there was nothing I could do.
The fact is, even if his dream came true, even if one of those buses was going to England, chances are we would be sent back at 18 anyway.
So many people with so much hope, slowly having that taken from them, little by little.