On the December convoy, we were expecting change in Calais, as the warehouse moved and Collective Aid took over operations. These changes have begun but, in many ways, things remain the same.
The warehouse run by L’Auberge des Migrants was humming with activity in the kitchen and the woodyard. As ever the food was plentiful and delicious, and the volunteers, long and short term, were universally warm and friendly. The cats continue to try to steal scraps and the charity shop was still full of things that confounded all reasonable expectations of what refugees might need: Zebra-patterned 4”heeled mules, anyone?
Yet the space between the volunteer area and the woodyard was stacked high with boxes and bags waiting to be transported to the new Collective Aid warehouse, and the second warehouse is now empty. Along with Collective Aid, the teams from Project Play and the Refugee Women’s Centre are also moving to the shiny new warehouse, about one mile away from L’Auberge.
The new warehouse has a lower roof, and much more light. Whilst clothing, sleeping bags and tents are already being distributed from there, the new warehouse is still taking shape and the groups are in the process of settling in so, for the moment, CamCRAG volunteers are not needed there.
We continue to be very much needed at L’Auberge, however, where most of us did a turn in the kitchen, before a surfeit of toe-tapping tunes and constant salivating drove us to the woodyard for some chopping and wood bagging. It was also great to meet some of our student friends from Cambridge University student society RE:action: Whether town or gown, Cambridge’s response to the refugee crisis is awesome.
The coming months are going to be hard for refugees around Calais and Dunkirk, whose numbers are being swelled by groups arriving from Brussels, as the weather deteriorates. So we hope as many of you as possible will come on our next convoy, 24 to 26 January.