Dubs.

Dubs: a poem and a bit of chat summing up my first week back in Calais.

Dubs

Not good, my friend, not good

No sleep

No bread today

It rains

Today is not a good day

My mother is sick

I was detained

I was deported

On a plane

I know not why

My family is in the UK

My future is in the UK

I paid a smuggler £5k

And have lost £5k

I have nothing

I am nothing

I am 16

Today is not a good day

Not good, my friend, not good.

CA


I’m not often one for poetry, but my initial draft for this blog was several hundred words long and I felt that this succinctly summed up some of the desolation on a grey day in camp when you ask how people are doing. It doesn’t take much to scratch the surface and often sad stories are volunteered to you before you even get the chance to ask. This week was particularly manic as a result of the lack of communication between security and the camp residents when they are carrying out operations such as checking for bedbugs and scabies in the community kitchens, which closed off people’s shelters and access to cooking on a wet, fairly miserable day. A young boy I met on Monday (who’s family already have British citizenship) lost £5,000 to a smuggler this week, and another young man was deported from the UK after a year of living and working in Birmingham and three months being held in a detention centre – ‘like prison’.

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Looking from Community Kitchen 1 towards a rudimentary mosque marked out in gravel and a game of cricket in the background

My mind was pre-occupied in the early days of this week by these particular stories, as well as the narrow but nonetheless complete failure of the UK government to implement Heidi Allen’s amendment to the Children and Social Work bill on Tuesday. However, it’s not all doom and gloom here in northern France. The sun put his hat on towards the end of the week and the mood in camp shifted enormously. The young boy’s father is coming to visit him at some point over the next few days. Plans are in place to ensure that refugees in and around Calais are still going to be fed, despite the mayor’s ban, although it will be done in a lawful manner. On a personal note, I’ve been welcomed back with open arms into this inspiring community, with bonfires on the beach, rugby, games nights, and copious amounts of wine and tea, and have also learnt how to make Pakistani rice and flapjacks for around 800 people. It’s a very paradoxical place, but I definitely feel that returning here  has been the best decision I have made in a long time.

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Late night bonfire on the beach with some bloody good humans

I’m planning on blogging at least once a week, writing is hugely useful in getting my head round everything that happens in a day, and I might aswell share the most crucial stories with whoever is interested. Stay tuned!

Chris

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