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Dunkirk and Calais, October 4-5, 2023

On Wednesday the weather couldn’t make up its mind - sunny one minute, cold, windy or raining the next. Today was more settled; while this morning there was what appeared to be an unusually low tide making visual distances confusing.

There have been several tragic deaths on the border over the past couple of weeks, while heading into Winter is challenging for everyone in this border context.

We worked outside on both days. Yesterday we joined the @medecinsdumonde team of doctors, nurses and interpreters on the edge of Dunkirk, close to the main living site. We occupied the mobile psychosocial activities van and were joined by both adults and children from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Eritrea and Sudan.

On Thursday we worked alongside our colleagues from Calais organisations next to one of the Eritrean camps, taking tea, coffee, maps, postcards. We noted the heightened responsibility of some children and the chaotic presentation of others, all making sense in different ways of the challenging edge of town context.

Above all in both settings we were moved by the capacity of men, women and children for politeness, patience and respect towards each other and ourselves. Men sat and threaded necklaces in their flag’s colours, really making use of the space offered within the cosy confines of the activities van, and today postcards from around the world proved a helpful catalyst for ideas, knowledge and imagination.

Back in the UK, the Home Secretary spoke this week about a hurricane of mass migration coming to the UK.

Words by Miriam Usiskin, Bobby Lloyd, Johannes Maertens and Jonny Craig.

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