Being in Calais those few short days opened my eyes to the compassion of others. Those volunteering in the warehouse were united by their determination to help in whatever way they could, from sorting through shoes to checking tents for their suitability for the camp. On two of the days, fifteen of us formed a production line, filling bags for people to use once evictions started to happen. It was tedious and repetitive work, but the volunteers did it with enthusiasm, all aware of the importance of the work. In some of the donated bags were notes from school pupils, sending their best wishes to the refugee who would eventually receive the bag. This feeling of good will was reinforced by Tesco in Redfield donating 50 bags for life to the camp, bags that were used for dried food packs. It is all too easy to become cynical in this world, fighting with the daily dose of anti-migration rhetoric by news outlets and politicians, but the little acts like this were a welcome reminder that so many people do care.
So as we watch the events unfold over the next few days, all I ask is that we remember that the only difference between us and those residing in the camp, seeking refuge in a strange land, is that they were born in a place that can no longer offer them the safety and sanctuary that a home should provide.
Anna Wardell, Administrator and Volunteer Coordinator