I think it has been three weeks since I first saw the film on the news about the camp in Calais. In that time the people there have been on my mind in a way I cannot remember ever before. I was particularly taken with a young man, I think he was fifteen years of age. All alone with no family around him he was surviving until the day he could get to the place where people knew him. As he stood outside his tent, I was overtaken with passion to help. This boy was the same as my boys once were. He needed someone to care for him and help him.
I pondered, I talked endlessly to my family, to my friends. All were sympathetic and were trying to understand why I was so taken with this human tragedy happening just over the Channel. I dithered, I wanted to collect equipment for the camp but I didn’t know where to start. I trawled the internet and found people helping, this gave me hope. I still did nothing.
Then this week and another news reel, this time it was a photo which once seen was never going to be unseen. Another boy, not yet grown lying in the waves on the shore. His journey had ended. Again I cried, and cried, but crying doesn’t help anyone. This time other people were ringing me, wondering what we can do. I still did nothing.
Enough was enough I had to do something so that night I made plans to travel to Greece to do whatever it took to help. By morning I had reconsidered, I was being selfish. The money spent getting me there would help many more people if used another way. I was still doing nothing.
Talking with a friend who was involved in gathering supplies for Calais in another town, made my mind up, this I could do. So, three weeks later than I should have, I did something. In the twenty four hours since setting up a group we have had donations and promises of more, we are in touch with others who have vans, who can get things to where they need to be. It felt good to be acting not talking. Turning up at strangers homes watching as they filled the car with blankets, with coats, with shoes, encouraging words, good luck! I hope it helps! I realised something, we really are all in this together. For every negative word there is a positive, and seeing strangers giving with gladness filled my heart with hope.
What we are doing is a tiny drop in a massive ocean, but there are many more drops also doing the same. If someone who is cold gets a blanket, someone who is hungry gets fed and if someone who believed no one cares, feels looked after, then that is enough.
We cannot all solve everything alone. Together however we are mighty powerful. Together we can change some of the world and reach out to those who need help.
There is much to do in this world. Governments need to be held to account, arms need to be replaced with love and peace. Money must not be worshipped at the cost of humanity.
The boy in Calais, the boy on the beach, the families clustered at ports, the people at railway stations scared, frightened, clinging to their babies, holding each others hands,they are at once all our sons, our daughters, our brothers and sisters, they are our global family. No matter what governments say, no matter what the cynical press print, we are human and we can help, and we will.