Conversations from Calais

Once a week, I have started to go out on “maraude” with Utopia 56, driving their water truck which provides water (obviously) and phone charging facilities. This begins, for me, at the end of my usual 12-hour day with RCK, and lasts until around midnight. Due to the nature of the role, there is plenty time to stand around and chat to people as the night closes in over Calais’ fields and woods. Continue reading

“So, how are things in Calais?”

It’s been nearly five months since I first arrived in Calais (for a week…) and it has gotten harder, not easier, to respond quickly to the question: “so, how are things in Calais?” I’m constantly expecting it and consistently unprepared to answer it. I falter, unable to say that it is either good (which it certainly is not, although it has it’s sweeter, rose-tinted moments) or bad (which needs elaborated on, extensively, and yet of course that takes time, and a lot of effort from me and the listener, and isn’t always the most comfortable conversation point to be had over a cup of coffee, or in a bar, or indeed, over Facebook messenger). Continue reading

France, 2017

As liberal news outlets congratulate France for welcoming one solitary Chechen refugee into the country, this is the reality of how France can really treat those fleeing persecution and war. At lunchtime in Calais, June 2017, hundreds of people are getting illegally denied access to food and water by the Police Nationale, the Gendarmerie and the UK-funded CRS. Continue reading