Thursday, 3 September 2015

How it all began

This is a little bit about my experience leading up to visiting The Jungle in Calais on 9th and 10th October 2015. I plan to go out again as soon as I am able.

This is my opinion and my views. I do not claim to represent anything or anyone.

Regarding any images in this blog I had permission for every picture I took of refugees 'posing' for me and in the instances where I could not seek permission, i.e. during our food distribution the faces of people have been obscured out of respect.

6 weeks ago ...

September 3rd 2015

I woke with a start. Checked the time, 4.30am - why always 4.30am?? It's nothing out of the ordinary for me to frequent this no-mans-land hour, which is neither night or day, but today I woke with an uneasy urgency, it felt like I was suffocating. My heart was pounding and I felt panicked.

My restless mind quickly wandered to the image of little Aylan; that tiny Syrian boy washed up on the beach in Turkey, lifeless. Tears immediate sprang from my eyes and coursed down into my ears, making the sounds around me appear under water, which just compounded the tragedy all the more.

What thoughts must have been going through his tiny infant mind? His poor mother and brother also lost to the waves, what must his Mother's last thoughts and sights have been?? All incomprehensible.  As a mother myself my train of thought running down this track was just too painful to pursue and a sob caught in my throat. I slid out of bed; it was simply too painful to continue laying there with those horrific visions playing a silent movie over and over in my head.

Dawn was beginning to break; I always love this time of year, just on the cusp of Autumn with the azure skies and still warm days. It felt good to be up at this hour, being able to enjoy the sunrise from the safety and comfort of my home, with my beautiful family innocently sleeping in their warm, comfortable beds above. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I had been born in a safe country and had been able to raise my family without threat of bombs and fear of sniper fire. Any twist of fate and things could have very easily been so different.

I fired up the laptop with the intention of getting on with some work but, as always, was drawn to social media for ‘just a quick check to see what’s been going on ...’ !

Scrolling through posts I felt empty; I got mad at people moaning about mundane ‘issues’ - which "celebrity" was evicted last night from this or that poor excuse for an 'entertainment' programme and all the while the vision of that little boy 'sleeping' with his tiny head in the waves haunted me.

I jabbed at the keyboard – and updated my Facebook status:-

I just can't sit and watch / read / try and comprehend any more of this Refugee crisis news without doing something to help.

I am collecting donations of the items listed below [the latest list of most needed items in Calais was posted] to deliver to the camp in Calais in October.

If you have any of these items or can make up a care package of simple toiletries - please let me have them by 30th September so that I can get them ready for delivery - thank for wanting to help too ...

I snapped the laptop lid shut and I sat back. I was doing something positive, albeit a small something,  to help these poor human beings in 'the jungle' in Calais.

Within a few hours I had family and a couple of friends contacting me asking where and when they could delivery donations.

After signing up to Calais Migrant Solidarity Action From UK and announcing myself as a collector in the High Wycombe area I had loads of complete strangers contacting me too, which was amazing.

My 'journey' had begun.

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