The jungle 

Kate Wyver

The blue and black plastic covering the flimsy shelters flinch as the rain beats down on them, the water dripping past the toothbrushes and mugs tied onto the edges of tents, and into the mud surrounding these temporary homes. Feet shuffle in distribution queues. Smiles invite me in for tea. Hands welcome me into games of cards. 

There are around four thousand people currently living in a makeshift camp in Calais. No one knows exactly how many because people are arriving every day and trying to leave every night. Having fled their own countries, they are often greeted with hostility and rejection. They are making the best of what they have, but the camp is not a nice place to live. Many have been travelling for months or years in situations we cannot even imagine. The final step of the journey for many is to get to England.

Politics shouldn’t matter here. It’s a human issue.  The camp is nicknamed ‘the jungle’ but I feel so uncomfortable using that name now- as one man from Syria said to me, ‘everyone knows a jungle is for animals’.

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© Helicon Magazine 2019

University of Bristol