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  • Writer's pictureMadhusudan

The human spirit- in the Jungle

Our eyes met, and then as if we recognised each other, we smiled, shook hands and then hugged. “Salaam valekum, Sab khair hai”, they asked me if I was alright, before I could ask them about their conditions. With my voice choked, holding back my tears, I replied- I am doing well, with the grace of God. This unshakable optimism of human spirit in the hardest of time is always so remarkable.

They were From Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria. Some who knew bit of hindi said to me , jai hind and I would reply Jai Jagat (glory to the world). We were doing distribution of some toiletries and tshirt today, and as they all stood in line, I had the opportunity to meet them and have a bit of conversation.

I reached Calais yesterday evening. Journey started with minor obstacles which was an omen that I am on the right path. First my connecting train from Paris to Calais got postponed due to some local union strike, then my bus in Calais dropped me 5 km further from my destination, with no one in sight, in middle of no where I stood smiling, looking up in the sky I remembered my Camino pilgrimage, so with my two bags, I start walking and singing a song , didn’t knew where to go, my phone not working, with just address in hand but no one to ask to. After almost two hours of searching and help with random strangers, I meet the volunteers. It was 8.30 pm but that time, luckily it wasn’t dark, but I was cold and hungry and slowly getting desperate, I remember taking a deep breath and said ok god I need your help now, and within minutes a volunteer came searching for me in his car 🙂

Stayed in the volunteer home for the night. Day started today at 10 am meeting in the warehouse, where all the donations is collected and sorted out. From food grains to clothes all the necessity items seemed to be there. Young volunteers mostly from UK have been managing the entire operations. Some have been here since months, When I asked one 17 year old, what inspired him to come , he replied “it felt the right thing to do”. Just when the Governments are creating boundaries, the citizens are bridging the gap and connecting hearts.

First day in the ‘Jungle’, as they call the refugee camp was inspiring.

Silently I was observing, silently I was feeling the human spirit of the refugees and the volunteers and silently I kept saying – Jai Jagat


As a courtesy we don’t take many pictures here, so using some from the internet to give a glimpse.

Link of the Organisation I am volunteering with

Aerial view of refugee camps in Calais

Volunteers loading materials for distribution.

On my way to the camp in a back of delivery van.

Warehouse and office of Care4calais

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