Monday, 22 August 2016

AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER, by Sally Kincaid: 22nd August 2016

Yesterday was an emotional roller coaster.

As we parked the car, dozens and dozens of people were heading towards the school, clinching their precious exercise books to learn English or French, eager to get there before school started so they could make sure they got a good seat.

Walking through the camp was heartbreaking as some shops and restaurants are still functioning, but others are just an empty shell as stock has been confiscated. There are many more people in tents. The worst moment was explaining to a woman who was 8 months pregnant that it didn't matter where her baby was born - France or UK it would have no status. And urging her not to do anything that would risk her and her baby's safety.

But then there was joy:
  • the little girl who decided the best place for the NUT flag was on top of the fort, after she had put stickers on my nails.
  • the two little boys who turned up for school, even though they had been told there was no kids school today as it was Sunday. We had a 20 minute discussion with Marco and the boys about why they had come. 'He said we should...' they said in unison, pointing at each other!
  • Families grateful to be able to get a rotten old caravan because it is an improvement on the container camp.
  • The amazing folks at Care 4 Calais who are so well organised and committed.
  • Meeting the little girl I first met a few months ago in the woman's bus with her mum, growing up so quickly. She should be starting school in September in my home city, but instead is living in a rat infested chemical field, yet she still has the biggest smile that could melt the coldest hearts.

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