Saturday, 5 September 2015

How Do You Give them Hope? by Toby Caruana


Woke up at 8am to find a photographer outside my tent who wanted to take my portrait - so half asleep I agreed. Did my normal litter pick around the 5 water taps for 4,000 humans until some 20 English people turned up not sure if they had arranged anything with NGO. They had a long drive back to Manchester so couldn't wait for help. I advised them what to do but it turned out their van was full of unsorted clothing. I knew it wouldn't go down that well so didn’t wait around to see yet another failed distribution as I’m still upset about some Belgians who over the weekend just opened up their vans and made a mess of the site with loads of wasted stuff and, of course, removed all dignity in giving and receiving aid.

I did try to chill but new refugees are constantly arriving at the moment so I am forever chasing blankets and tents. I say “I will try” “inshallah”.

In the after noon I agreed to be quickly interviewed for some Dutch thing- a question the reporter asked has really stuck in my head: "How do you give these people hope?"

Sadly ,I don’t give them hope - I just make them slightly better in a shit situation... after this I forced Riaz to have lunch and we talked about how it was nice to have a quiet day and not much on so we could relax. ... Unfortunately, this quiet was broken at about 4pm with a massive van turning up containing some 1500 water bottles and 3000 sneak bars. As these weren't the most amazing supplies only those most in need queued and so we moved around the camp until 8.30.

Next I ran around camp looking for last few people I had told I would get tent and blankets to. Around 10pm I found a guy trying to sleep under a motorway bridge -with nothing. I took him back to my tent and gave him a tent and blanket and pointed him to the growing Syrian part of camp.

I got into bed and turned Facebook on and found out some rather depressing news - a caravan was being delivered to "The Jungle" between 2 and 3am and I would have to meet them outside and help get it in .

The caravan finally arrived and I was back in bed about 5am;(

3 Syrians turned up at 10am. One guy proudly told me he was a designer and showed me the most amazing pictures of his wedding dress pictures and clothes on his phone. I took his number and promised I would phone him when I found more tents and blankets. While looking for these I found 2 English girls handing out clothes.. I asked if they were OK and if they could give me blankets and sleeping bags. Sadly they didn't lock their driver door, It got opened by refugees and I slightly hurt a refugee by slamming it shut. That made me feel guilty so once they locked door I left them to it.

Finally, I ran into a couple from Liverpool who helped me out by supplying me with the tent and blankets I needed.

It’s hard walking around with stuff when it’s all pre-allocated as everybody is cold at night and EVERYBODY NEEDS IT. But everybody respects it when I say its for new people.

Finally, I met up with Maya and got 5 sleeping bags YAY! The excitement didn’t last long as at about 10.30 pm 10 new Syrians turned up. A few had blankets and stuff so I only needed to give out 4 sleeping bags. I suggested maybe they should sleep in the "Doctors of the World" tent (which I'll get In trouble for) as it was raining. One of them asked for food so I borrowed a bike and rode to my tent to get biscuits ,bananas, bread, 1 orange and some snack bars -almost all my food.

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