Three months ago (give or take a few days) I arrived in Calais for a week with no idea what to expect. I could not have predicted the effect it was going to have on my life, and that three months on I would still be here with no plans to leave anytime soon.
I’ve had some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life here. I’m happy and furiously angry and desperately sad all at the same time. I’ve seen people reunited with their families and others stuck in a perpetual limbo. I’ve seen kids teargassed and held to the floor by the police 2 metres in front of me. I’ve watched kids trying to climb into lorries while I’ve been merely filling the van with petrol. I’ve argued with police officers over our right to serve people food, and have snatched plates that have been taken off of refugees back out of police officers’ hands. I’ve watched a small fight turn into an entire camp burning down and thousands of people being displaced (a situation which is still absolutely dire). I’ve worried incessantly about the “bambinos” who I haven’t seen since the fire in Grande-Synthe, and feel both incredibly happy and sad when I do see people I haven’t seen in a few weeks. I’ve made good and bad decisions under pressure and learnt from my mistakes. I’ve made thousands of portions of bloody tasty Pakistani, Kurdish and Afghan rice (and the occasional portion of not so good rice but that’s ok). I’ve met some of the most inspirational humans in the world, have had incredible conversations with complete strangers whilst chopping carrots and have made best friends for life who can drag me out of bed after five fourteen+ hour days in a row. I have met some of the most beautiful people from Iraq and Afghanistan – places I’ve been told my entire life to be scared of – as well as from Pakistan, Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Vietnam. I have not regretted my decision to cancel my flights to New Zealand for even a second, and I can’t wait to see what the next few months will bring.