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Dunkirk, France, 17.04.24

Yesterday we spent the day on the edge of Dunkirk where there have recently been tensions between the different refugee communities, and a large eviction. The weather was a mixture of warm sun and biting wind. On the rough piece of land where the Médecins du Monde team usually delivers its emergency mobile clinic, several organisations joined to deliver their services alongside.

With the interior space of the psychosocial van a welcome place to sit and wait for the doctor, we greeted people from different faiths and ethnicities, aged from 6 to 60.

The modular simplicity of our red bricks encouraged a range of imaginative building projects. The bricks also offered a way into interpersonal discussions - from the wonders of computer coding to human rights abuses, being alone, my dream home and missing a mother.

Outside the van, young Sudanese men stood around the large world map. Our minds turned to Sudan and the one year anniversary of the horrifying but little documented ongoing war in their country in which 10 million have been displaced or fled.

Men, women and children were engaged in lots of activity across the afternoon focused on everyday survival. But in a touching moment, as we left with the mobile clinic, young men and women from different countries had started to dance together, learning each other’s traditional dance steps.

Words by Bobby Lloyd & Miriam Usiskin.

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