Calais Day Two

Conspiracy theory: There was never a Jungle
Alternative theory: We all live in a Jungle
(Written on a port-a-loo, Calais Warehouse, anonymous)

Day Two: Surreal Surroundings

Twelve hours of sleep can do the world of good for an individual, a coffee can be the best pick-me-up. 

Second day in and without a doubt another successful day. After spending a morning back in the sorting warehouse, we then got the opportunity to learn about the overflow. A strange realization overthrew us when we saw the piles of large clothing that isn't needed, shoved into crates awaiting to be taken. The warehouse prompted a question on where this will all go, to which this reply send a shudder down my spine;

The overflow of donations.

"So a while back, we had this big order for Syria, 
we had a plan for the van to come and 
collect tonnes of children, men and women's clothes..."

"What happened?"

"The place they were going to was bombed. 
No one was there to donate too."

Even the thought now makes my eyes water. Holding a baby's glove I stared at it, eyes filling up. It just is so real. I cannot fathom the pain I would have in my heart if my country was being ripped apart. I cannot believe the strength the refugees have to continue, especially the ones with no family left, clinging to their life. It is so easy to turn off the news when they discuss Aleppo or Syrian rebels or the 'Refugee Crises'. Yet if it was happening to your family would you be able to turn it off now? These people escape the warfare, come for shelter and support, have to battle demanding and critical weather conditions, to then appear and be told they aren't wanted, being told to go home. 
Warehouse 2

They don't get that luxury anymore, there is no home for them left. Realise that.

9 hours of work, nails broken, runny nose, blue fingers, dusty lungs. Yet we couldn't of felt better. We understand the work we are doing, we are actually making a difference. It is so rewarding to be in a job where what you are doing is making an impact, compared to mundane hospitality jobs this work made me feel something I haven't felt in so long. Made me feel wanted.

I got talking to various volunteers today, what they were interested in, what made them volunteer. I wanted to share a few stories with you;

'Okay don't laugh! And I won't mention this again as it seems so ridiculous, I work in IT. I push buttons for a living.' -Chris, one of the 'experts' in the volunteering field, a cheerful, brilliant man.

'On my first day I showed up in high heel Gucci wellies! Honestly I didn't have anything else! I walked in and had to change them after a few hours!' -Ash, started volunteering a year ago, she came for a few days then uprooted, quit her job, removed all materialistic objects in her life to work in a charity shop in the warehouse. Truly inspirational.

'I really want to learn crochet, I am retired, I do this because I have lived an amazing life, so why can't I use the rest of it to help others? Maggie, multiple volunteer junkie, great dancer when her jig comes on. I can only dream of being even slightly like her when I'm her age.

'I did go home at one point, but it all seemed so pointless then. So I quit everything and now this is my life, and fuck me is it so much better' -Florence, incredible, incredible woman. She is in the process of helping a 16 year old unaccompanied to live with his aunt, he apparently likes transformers and has an eye on good style of clothing, and he loves the word 'Peace' in English.

The volunteers I am sharing this week with all have lives back home, lives they all agree seem pointless now. We all want to help and we want to give our all. The temptation to stay grows with each hour I surround myself with these beautiful humans and help those in real need. - Chanelle Manton Photography


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