Latest from Calais
Anne M Jones, a seventy-something who went to Calais for a week each month before the pandemic, recently resumed her volunteering. Here are some extracts from her update:
‘There are currently about 800 refugees sleeping rough in the area, and further 400 around Dunkirk. This includes families living in the woods, and possibly 30-40 unaccompanied minors … Project Play is busy each afternoon with up to 30 children. Afghans from the crisis of a few months ago are arriving …
Clothes sorting involved jackets, small, medium, large or extra-large into categories of thick, thin, waterproof or non-waterproof, making sixteen different permutations involving 16 cardboard boxes all over the floor … I had taken my sewing kit and so I was overjoyed at the sight of a few torn coats to mend … Next the making of bags of toiletries - toothpaste, soap, etc placed in rescued wrappers from consignments of socks (good to see some recycling from all the waste of plastic wrapping and boxes).
I asked what had the refugees done if they got Covid - they ‘just sweated it out’ in their sleeping bags in the hedgerows, the volunteer said, adding, ’But mostly they are so used to being ill it was just another virus.’
Copies of Anne’s book, How long, how long must we wait? are available at £10 from CRAG.