On the 30th of April we travelled to Dunkirk once again to deliver aid to the refugees. Some of the group joined the valiant force working in the L’auburge warehouse, sorting though donations and distributing aid at the camp in Calais. Some spent time at the women and children’s centre in Calais providing emotional support and comfort to the displaced women enduring the harsh conditions of the camp.
After a morning of some delay, the rest of the group made it to Dunkirk with just enough time to build a fence around a small makeshift school in the new MFS (Médecins Sans Frontières - Doctors Without Borders) camp. Upon entering the camp the team were faced with the image of an old man, tattered and exhausted, who was desperately in need of a pair of shoes that would fit his feet. To his astonishment a member of our team, who matched the man in size and stature, had brought spare footwear with him; and was therefore able to offer the shoes off of his own feet to the man. What a humbling moment it was, as this man pulled his scrunched up feet from his scrawny trainers only to replace them with a comfortably fitting, warm pair of decent trainers. The smile on this man’s face alone was worth the trip.
As the day progressed, so did the fence. The school ground quickly began to take shape as artificial grass was laid across a small decking area with the addition of two filled sandpits. The joy that this addition brought to the children, just filled your heart.
With some extra muscle to hand, from a few very helpful refugees, we were also able to assist by digging out a drainage basin so that the guttering could function appropriately. With plenty of time to spare, we were able to finish the task with ease and enjoy some time playing, teaching and caring for some of the joyful little faces that had filled the grounds. What an achievement is was, to provide these children with a safe a secure place to learn and to play. Not only was a fence built on this day, but also character, humility, love and friendship.