Volunteering in Calais.
With less than a week to go before I embark on my trip to Calais I have decided to document every step of the journey. This all stems from a need to update my family, to give them a little peace of mind whilst I am in Calais. But I hope that it can become something more than that. I hope that this will be something that I can look back on, a collection of memories that I am about to make. I also hope that perhaps this can become something that other people, people I don’t know and probably never will, can read and find something in. The camp in Calais, The “Jungle” is I believe a very misunderstood place. I have never been but I have read other people’s accounts. It seems to me, for what that’s worth, that it is of course a place that desperately needs help, a place with pain and suffering and awful conditions. But it is also a place of hope; filled with human beings, just like you and I, just trying to survive. Filled with wonderful people who have sacrificed their own lives to help others and who, with very little money or experience have set up so many projects which are making a real difference to peoples lives.
I think it depends on how you look at things. In one respect that we as civilised coutries accross Europe are letting this happen right on our doorsteps is a travesty, one which I can bareley comprehend. However from what I can gather it has also show the true power of human spirit. Of ordinary people doing all that they can do, just to make a difference.
So now, I guess, that’s me, just an ordinary person with a real desire to go and do something. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity and means ot go and do something like this, I don’t take that for granted and I wouldn’t be in this position if not for the wonderful people who have supported me. Anything I achieve whilst there is a result of your support. If you’re reading this then know that you are one of the extra-“ordinary” people too. I don’t know what difference I will make and I don’t know the people I will be helping but through the course of the next few weeks I hope to get to know them. And I hope to let you know them too. I will share the highs and lows and try to make this blog somewhere which takes away all those misconceptions and finds the real people in Calais. Volunteers and refugees alike. I wont be taking any photographs in the camp, just sharing my experiences. This site shows the importance of giving people their own voice, instead of forcing a rhetoric upon them that suits our own needs. The Jungle is a home to many people, I want to respect their privacy and dignity, they are not a spectacle for our entertinment. They are people and I plan to treat them as such.
As far as my plans for this blog are concerned I will attempt to post daily updates. There will be a post about every day I know that, but they might not be posted quite so regularly. I’m not sure what kind of time I will have during the week but I do plan to take advantage of the weekends (when there are a higher number of volunteers anyway) to catch up on sleep and everything else so expect multiple posts then. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and will be following my jouney over the coming few weeks. I leave Edinburgh on Saturday night (9/7/16) at 10pm on an overnight bus to London and will arrive in Calais at around 4:30pm on the Sunday. I don’t expect a post about travelling on a bus for so many hours to be interesting (although perhaps you should all share in my misery!) so I will start Day 1 on the Monday.
I don’t know what to expect from this, but I know it will be an experience to remember forver.