Last month I went to Calais in France, to a place called The Jungle. The Calais Jungle is the nickname given to a series of camps in the vicinity of Calais, France, where migrants live while they attempt to enter the United Kingdom by stowing away on lorries, ferries, cars, or trains traveling through the Port of Calais or the Eurotunnel Calais Terminal.
When I decided to visit the Jungle, I thought the work would be the same, but I was wrong. For 14 years I worked on the streets, with street kids and homeless, so, in my mind it would be something similar, but to my surprise, it was not.
There I saw people in very basic living conditions, with almost nothing, but definitely they were not homeless in their hearts. In my experience in Brazil, the biggest challenge working with children on the streets was not to take them off the streets, but the hardest work was to take the street off the kids’ hearts. The people in Calais had not the street in their hearts. They were not homeless by nature. They were people who were fighting for survival.
Lots of stories!!!! Lots of needs, lots of lies. It is hard to identify the ones who are telling you the truth or not. In situations like that it is normal to mix stories and create situations that will help them to make their way to a better life. It’s not that they want to deceive anyone, In a way I can understand how the story of my brother can easily become my story when I need to convince someone that I need help. Their needs and the war in the nations where they came from is a reality we cannot deny. No one would put their lives under such conditions if they would have other options.
Great Britain is their promised land. They have the idea that if they arrive here, their lives will be transformed. That the government will embrace them and they won’t have to fight for survival any more. And when I see where they are coming from, I can understand why they think this way.
It is so hard to see so many people dreaming and risking their lives to come to the land you just received your Citizenship. I never had this dream and never thought we would be in England for so long. To see this group of almost five thousand people putting their lives in danger to reach the land where you live was an impact to me. No matter how I feel, I don’t think I can ever put my self in their shoes. It is to imagine what they lost and what they had to overcome to be able to be where they are.
Coming back from the Jungle I knew that I had to do something. I don’t know what or how. There is a lot of donation of food and clothes. They need more than materials. There is a desire in my heart to teach English, but I am not sure if this is the way. There is a desire to do documentaries, to tell their stories . We don’t know yet. We will be back in November for another day, when we will try to identify the real needs. Please pray, for wisdom and guidance for what to do.
Our family is doing well. Amanda is in Secondary school now and is loving it. Mateus just turned 13 and is becoming a very charming young man. Lucas asked to continue in Home Education. I receive his desire as a gift. I love to teach and have my own boy choosing me as his teacher is wonderful.
Thanks for all your support and love. We are not here alone. You are part of our work and we are so thankful for your life.
God bless you!
The Carvalho Family
Please take a look in this link to see the video Paulo did about the work we are