24 hours in Calais( 1)

amjed1By Amjad Al Alswad

Being stranded with a cousin of mine in Paris, I got a phone number of someone from my local neighborhood now living in the jungle and help those from his abandoned childhood memories up to the young age.

When I called him, he was welcoming and waiting to meet each other with my cousin, as he is an old neighbor to us.
I doubt what he said, his dialect and accent clearly say that he is not Syrian and not from my local area as he claimed. Something is wrong or a trick will be reviled to me as soon as I am in Calais. On arrival to the station, I called him and he guided me to where he is. Living areas were abstracting slowly with my slow steps, no means of life here except for that wild kind. When I asked him are you sure about your instructions to the place, because I feel I am lost, he said now you are in the right place, it’s the jungle. Just keep going until you find a caravan.

After half an hour walking in the jungle towards that little white point appeared from far between trees, we reached a very messy stingy place surrounded by rubbish. And far in the middle, a woody door as if made from a wreck brought from the close ocean.

He called me again “did you arrive?” And then the door opened to see a skinny old man, pale in the face, but that golden colour tooth shown is welcoming, telling how lucky we are to have someone keen to help and advice amid the predatory field we are in. With every little breeze far from the place, the rubbish bags hess and smell more. When he invited me to go inside, I asked him “can’t we stay more here out?” With a little smile for the jungle expert, you will get used to it this is the best part of the jungle. going in, I told him it doesn’t make any difference. You will know what these thin walls mean at a windy night.

A little thin wire connected to a lantern from one side and to a transformer from a car battery on the other side, covered with frozen acid for night use. Only where no a glimpse of light from the wall cracks, to save the battery as much as we can. Moldy damp walls, spider nets at every corner, a toilet but not for use. Old rags to sleep on, if you do not have a bag so you lose your pillow. That you need to cover yourself with does not differ from what you sleep on, but you don’t need these all at night, because night time is the time only to try your chance in getting to the other side of the sea.

*Editing  : Amir Darwish 


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