We spent the morning packing up the goods people had requested via their tickets the previous day. Not as easy as it sounds: my first ticket said women’s clothes medium and my challenge was to decide what to put together from our limited supplies, imagining the height and shape of the woman I was supplying.
In the afternoon we distributed our packages via the Care4calais container in the camp. It went well; more people are understanding the ticket system now but still plenty more remain frustrated at waiting for a ticket as it will take us some days or weeks to reach all parts of the sprawling camp.
A Sudanese man standing in the line remarks how his life is one queue after another. In his broken English he communicates his frustration, he tells me that our governments talk of human rights ‘but look how we are living, we have no human rights’.
If our governments spent a fraction of the £4.7 billion paid to Turkey to keep refugees out of the EU on looking after these people, they wouldn’t have to endure the futility of our offerings in carrier bags organised on a shoestring by volunteers.
The media and politician’s narrative on migrants labels them a ‘drain’ on resources. I cannot imagine a more resourceful and resilient set of people who’ve crossed every bridge of danger, endured unimaginable trauma, yet still survive with dignity despite every attempt to thwart them.
Volunteer voices 5:
Catherine is a trainee social worker, from Dundee, whom I was working alongside to manage the queue today. She had visited the camp previously with the Social Work Acion Network (SWAN) and had decided to return as there was so much to do.
We met another member of out trade union today, Martin, from Edge Hill University who teaches trainee teachers. That’s four UCU members currently here who’ve all come under their own steam.