“We haven’t had to pack a spice bag here for months…”
From flapjacks to tents and the other thoughtful (but specific!) donations that filled our vehicle, this Calais trip was awash with wonderful people again.
And another six interesting, funny, capable people to share the warehouse with, and all the difficult questions it throws up.
(“But why DON’T the men accept a pink toothbrush? They just choose a different colour, or they actually REJECT the pink? Surely if it’s SURVIVAL you’d accept it? But is a toothbrush survival…? I guess It’s not IMMEDIATE survival… ? Well… if it’s the only bit of autonomy they’ve had all day…? Uh…it says FOR WOMEN on it…??” )
The warehouse was also full of positive news — like the sheer quantity of spice bags of random shapes and sizes that have been coming for the last few months after our germ of an idea back in May.
And the wonderful Hannah, presiding over the amazing packing table in Calais Kitchens, who is there because she believes in people’s right to access nutritious food. (“I just turned off Masterchef one day and signed up…”)
We needed all that positive. The Evictions are Coming. The camp residents wait. The volunteers wait. The experienced volunteers are tired and busy. And the little good news of a tiny number of young people getting through the UK’s WALL OF NO is shat on by individuals choosing to write damaging headlines in the name of xenophobia.
And this time, because of the tension, and how hard it is to get in to camp, and because we were asked, we stayed away from camp. Which meant I felt disconnected to the people I was helping. A necessary thing, but hard.
I’m not sure how I would be handling the actions of my country if I didn’t know the Auberge warehouse. Humanity, solidarity, humour and food. Their advice is to stay away now for a couple of weeks, as evictions are now very much expected next week. Help Refugees page for the latest information.
So what to do… Are you in London? We’re setting up a Stories and Supper project that we hope will shift a few perspectives. If you think you could be a useful part of it, please come to dinner on 19th November.
And we can all continue to make the link between the ROOT CAUSES — one of which is our arms sales — and the tragic need of people to flee heir homes.
And depending on what happens in the next few weeks, if we’re needed back in Calais we’ll head there. Hope to see you too. Good luck Team Auberge.