Eco Culturale

Last day in Grande Synthe-La Linière

On the the way to come here I have been thinking about starting a blog for each day I was spending volunteering in the camp. I was too ambitious, in fact, for several reasons including the intial enthusiasm, overwhelming tiredness, daily duties and no wifi it has been hard to keep the promise of a constant update. I thought then of writing about the results of my period and what I have learnt so far.

I have learnt that “borders” mean more for some people than for others. What a collegue has reported to me from a child living in the camp is a frustating “I just want to got the UK”. What it is avoiding these people from reconciliate to their families and friends or from fulfill their hopes?

Borders. All the stories that I have been listening to have this term in common. It is incredible how these stories are so similar and so different at the same time. Families, single women, minors and men trying to reach a country where to settle with the prospective of a better life by “crossing borders”. I truly believe they are very brave in keeping the flame of hope.

Thinking of my time in “La Linière”, I would describe it as living in a “small world”. While working with other volunteers and living with them, meeting people in the camp,it is possible to have such a daily routine also in a refugee camp. However, there have been events totally on the other extreme. An episode that really shaked me for a while was when two families,one of them that I had the chance to meet personally and talked to, have been evicted from the camp. I will remember that day as miserable since I felt that I was powerless despite the energy I was putting into my work. During my last week I assisted to the removal of  some shelters, the scene was not that crowded as I imagined it would have been. It was mostly happening in the early morning when few people were around and bunch of kids jumping of excitement for the view of tractors and other machines used for this purpose.

Silvia Mannino



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