I’m merely a 22 year old lassie from north west London, who in reality should be completing a covering letter due tomorrow morning. Lesson numero uno in Danni’s life – I am one of the finest procrastinators. Anyway before I ramble myself into a distant world far out of original context let me begin.
Back in August, I found myself sitting at my then admin job desk, listening to the radio news update on the migrant crisis. A crisis which had in fact began to intensify after the events of the Arab Spring, but which had actually worsened and had finally become covered across all our media platforms. I ended up crying and had to excuse myself from my desk to go and make sure I didn’t have mascara rubbed across my face, I was front of house after all. That night I went to my boyfriends house and told him, I’m going to Calais. I’m 90% sure that he thought I was just emotional and in one of my I’m saving the world tonight moods, but little did he know I was in fact being 100% serious. And thus, Fuze Beyond Borders was born.
Now I’m not here to preach and tell you all how you should live your lives or what the answer to saving the world is. Nor am I here to boast about what a god damn good citizen I am, there are LOADS of wonderful and admirable volunteers in the Calais and Grande-Synthe Jungle and across the world! I’m simply here to try and get a message of solidarity and union across. I may succeed, I may fail, I don’t really know I’m just typing up words as they come to me…
Our first visit to the Dunkirk Grande-Synthe camp back in October was extremely successful, the camp back then had around 500 habitants, we arrived on a sunny day and everyone was welcoming. We distributed our tents, sleeping bags/mats, camping chairs and other items, and then began to build our football goals to set up a pitch. The goals were built successfully with the help of the men from the camp, then we kicked off 2 games of penalty shoot out. It was a great, rewarding and moving day and we made good friends that we would go and visit again in the next few weeks… Our next trip was really quite a contrast, we were still received with smiles and welcoming, but there was no denying the drastic change in the atmosphere at camp. The then 500 habitants had now become 1600 in the short space of 3 weeks, it was a lot colder and it had heavily rained through the night so the camp was ridden with mud.
If I’m being perfectly honest, I felt completely helpless. We had a van full of clothes coats shoes and other resources. As well as a large box filled with food to give to our lovely friend Hafsa, to hand out accordingly throughout the following days/ or cook in bulk for that Friday. But I knew it wouldn't be enough for everyone in the camp. Now this is the feeling which I would like to bring to light here ‘helplessness’ it’s an awful feeling not only for the person feeling it, but also for those surrounding that person. The feeling of helplessness is exactly the feeling which I feel is impeding greater change from developing across our world. Now I also feel ignorance plays a great part and of course there are other factors, but for the sake of my first blog post let’s focus on ‘helplessness’.
Judging by my Facebook timeline, I am pleased to see that I have friends with a heart for humanity, who oppose Mr Cameron’s ridiculous decision to bomb Syria, and who also often post things which show they care about the world’s current situation. It is refreshing to see that today's young people do care. However, if I could gather all of you beautiful people who do have good hearts to come and actually actively take part in helping out or making a difference – the results would be wonderful. Now since starting the Fuze Beyond Borders project, I've had various conversations with like-minded people who have told me they haven’t actively volunteered or taken part in a humanitarian cause because they feel like it won’t make a difference. They feel HELPLESS.
That 2nd trip we took to Dunkirk, the one where I felt helpless, turned out to be successful in the end. I won’t pretend that we re-sheltered the camp and bettered their futures long term – but we fed some of them for a few more days, we clothed cold and wet infants, gave someone a warm sleeping bag, gave a family a pan so they could cook a meal for themselves that evening.. You get my drift. Now if I would've continued to feel helpless and turned to John (boyfriend) and said, ‘lets head home, there’s nothing we can do’ … what difference would we have made?
My point here is every small act of kindness is a step towards a bigger change. In the world we live in, change won’t come about over night, but it will still come. Rome wasn't built in a day etc. And if you have stopped yourself from volunteering, or speaking out, or taking part in some act of kindness for humanity because you feel helpless, don’t! We are not helpless, we are so much more. If you give one homeless person a meal, you are not changing the lives of all the homeless population in the UK, but you are changing the day of one. And that my friends is a beautiful thing. Now imagine you and your friends got together and made a bigger meal that could feed 10 homeless people, that’s already a bigger change than just you alone. Imagine a whole community, etc. etc. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this… So to conclude, I propose that you all find it in your hearts to go and make a difference this Christmas season. Make a meal, donate clothes, come and volunteer with Fuze if you want to! Or any other charitable organisation for that matter. Solidarity is wonderful, and seeing even just one frown turn into a smile is the most rewarding gift you can receive this Christmas.