Boys in the bushes.
Last week we heard of the camps up in Calais & Dunquerque in northern France being dismantled, and I remembered that each time that happens the boys tend to them come further down the coast to our ports in Normandie. Life here can be pretty scary & tough until they at least find some relative safe place to sleep and way of receiving food. So we decided to check out our growing community of boys living in the woods in Ouistrahem, on the canal between the port & Caen. They are all from the Sudan and have a few words of English between them but pretty much no French. Their living conditions are very rough & basic but they have friendship & eat together as a community and are always so welcoming. We noticed they are growing in number & have some clear needs, so we’ll do our best to do a weekly drop there for now, as long as we have the resources to do so.
We took clothes, the few trainers we had, some food supplies, games, & a freshkits for everyone (our packs of shampoo/toothpaste/toothbrush/razors/tissues & breakfast biscuits!) It was great to push through the language barrier and connect, teaching them our names & learning theirs! That is the most basic of things but somehow means so much, to share our names & greet each other. At first they seemed scared & nervous but then started to relax around us, and we look forward to getting to know them better & helping them create that safe space on the river bank.
They really need some tents & floor mats ,plus they could all do with some shoes, and we feel it’ll be good to help them prepare for winter, so we’ll need some extra resources to help them as well as helping our boys in Caen. So if you are able to help us or bring over donations of the the things we need we would be incredibly grateful & love to hear from you!
More than ever, in these days that being so much uncertainty, we need to be those that welcome and show generous love. They are used to people avoiding them or worst still, rebuking them, but I’m praying we can build friendship with these sweet young lads and help them feel a peace and a welcome that drowns out some of the voices they hear of rejection & fear.
Love is more powerful than fear, it doesn’t cost us so much, and it speaks volumes, especially in the current climate. Choose to love generously, and you will see so much beauty in response. Today, the beauty I take home from our visit, is those awesome smiles, and the joy that a bag of peanuts brings to a Sudanese boy!