Calais Jungle
2016   
We are in Calais, at the northern border of France with England. We are in the Jungle of Calais, which has become one of the largest refugee camps in northern Europe. Here migrants have built a small "city" in the mud waiting to cross illegally those 43 miles that separate them from England. Some want to reunite with what is left of their families; some have simply lost everything and want to rebuild their lives away from wars that they do not feel theirs; others simply dream of a better world and think they might find it there. Everyone has a different reason, but they have in common a desperate search for peace. In the Jungle of Calais we find families, children, and, for the most part, youths of 20-30 years of age that have survived grueling travels.  Despite the brutal conditions these migrants find themselves in, hope and desire to succeed are still in their eyes and in their stories. The days in the Jungle start around 10:30 am (at night, they try to cross the border illegally) and proceed between a game of football, a chat in front of the fire, a hot cup of tea in a house built with scraps found here and there. But for days now the evacuation has begun, and the situation has changed: families are scared, youths watch their "homes" being destroyed by bulldozers, children no longer go to school for fear of the police. Some just move their belongings as far as possible at the periphery of the camps to gain time to get organized before it is their turn to be evacuated.

Mark