…because I said I was coming to France to write!
Before I left the UK on Friday two friends of mine very kindly gave me some money to hopefully help whatever situation I may come across out here…to do with the Refugee situation that is…and to do with litter, of course.
There has always been a small number of Afghan Refugees in Cherbourg and the numbers have dwindled down to under twenty now. Most of the Afghan nationals who arrive here spend the long time it takes applying for Asylum. Most get it, some don’t, some still try their hand under the lorries back across the channel to Poole, or if you get on the wrong one, (as a friend of mine did) you end up in Ireland. They send you back from there, (as they did to my friend). He decided to stay after being returned here. He now has a 10 year visa, a job, an apartment, a car and is speaking good French.
I met four young Afghans yesterday. They have just arrived in Cherbourg. They say they come from Kunduz, the scene of recent fierce fighting. The place where the Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital was so drastically bombed. They had taken three months to get to Germany. Too many Refugees in Germany they said. They bypassed Calais, (good move in my opinion) and hitched and borrowed rides in buses and trains. They have no money. They seem like good people. They are young. They want to get to England.
It’s getting cold here. They sleep outside. Even the guys who are in the asylum process, registered with the French…are not eligible for accommodation. They sleep in the parks, under the bridges, on the benches.
So I went to a Housing Association today. I went to the Press. I went to the Mayor’s office…and I now have a few phone calls to make.
We must be able to put some sort of system together where those that are in the processing of applying for asylum have a roof over their heads, food in their belly, the air of care around them?
If you want to skip the lorries to the UK, that’s more difficult. Not easy to house someone, feed someone, build someone up, knowing that they want to break ‘the law’, and more importantly risk their lives.
My two friends’ money paid for food and water for the four of them yesterday. And two more of them joined the four today. My friends’ money paid for food and water for the six today.
But they don’t have roofs over their heads. They don’t have showers. They don’t have easily accessible toilets.
I’ll make those calls tomorrow. Will it make a difference? At least there’s more money from my friends to give them another round of water and food.
Good night all.