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Calais, December 15-16, 2022

In Calais, the cold weather shelters are open for the coming weekend, and the NGOs continue to provide a consistent caring response to those arriving.

Things however remain brutally difficult. The weather is freezing with a bitter biting wind. It is literally cold comfort for those struggling to survive on the France-UK border. Nightly crossings of the freezing English Channel in small boats will continue, even following the deaths of 4 people in the Channel on Wednesday morning. Last night’s vigil in response to this tragedy was attended by around 100 people, gathering in near silence to say ‘enough is enough’.

Over the last two days a number of men from an ever widening range of countries have taken respite at The Community Table. We were joined by men from Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Egypt, Libya, India, Afghanistan, people who have each made extraordinary journeys thus far. The table also expanded to include our colleagues from Médecins du Monde and a mental health team from Lyons.

Today the typewriters were used actively and meaningfully, tower building and falling seemed to provide much needed release of tension and humour, and there were small intimate exchanges, of portraits, of ideas, of fears, and of dreams.

Words by Bobby, Miriam, & Aida

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