Being optimists about continuing the tradition of a healthy morning workout, Chris had set his alarm for 6.15. However, as we got up and opened the shutters, we were met by grey clouds of thunder and heavy rain. Feeling equally disappointed and relieved, we all went back to bed and snoozed til 7 o’clock.
By 9.30 we had made our way to L’Auberge’s warehouse. Their landlord had payed a visit, and declaimed the place to look like ‘a skipped residence for hippies’. Therefore, our first task of the day entailed cleaning the area in front of the warehouse. Before heading off to the camp along with the mobile distribution team, we did a quick stocking up of the packing warehouse.
In the meantime Jae June had gone to pick up Christoph, who arrived in Calais around midday, and they both greeted us by the entrance of the camp. Once inside the camp, the team split up into 5 groups, which all continued needs assessing the 5th district of the camp. Jae June and Christoph successfully conducted the first trial round of the pilot form. I timed the assessments of the five groups, in order to calculate an average of time spend visiting and manually noting down orders from shelters in the camp. By doing so, we hope to ultimately understand how many more people can potentially be provided aid on a daily basis, by utilizing a centralized viral database.
As we were leaving the jungle, policeman had congregated around the entrance of the camp. An unknown number of residents had attempted to climb a lorry passing on the motorway on the western side of the camp, and one person had been beaten up by the CRS. After having returned to the warehouse, we learned that police patrols had been shooting teargas into the camp to prevent residents from exiting, and Sam assessed the situation to be too risky for the team to be returning to the camp for distribution of the aid. So having packed the orders of the day into bags, the mobile distribution team did a short debriefing, before splitting up and heading off to do other tasks.
As for the five of us, we requested Sam for a meeting. We wished to touch base with her on the progression of the project, ask her clarifying questions about her experience with the targeted aid distribution, and hear if she had any additional suggestions for our further work with the assessment form. Sam was very enthusiastic about the development of the project, and pleased to hear that a viral database, would allow for a summarized historical overview of all the shelters in the camp. Having a collected history of the shelters, organisations working through a target aid method, will in the future be able to reduce the overlapping of orders caused by vast amounts of incomprehensible paperwork. Furthermore, being able to find assigned shelters and areas in the camp simply by pointing to a gps-location, rather than volunteers making their way through a non-systematized jungle of tents and caravan, will ultimately allow for a faster and more efficient needs assessment – and hence a faster and more efficient distribution of aid. In terms of strengthening the coordination between organizations working in the camp, we hope that an online referral system, allowing L’Auberge to refer residents to other services within the camp, such as Baloos Youth Centre or The Women and Children’s Bus, will enable communication and cooperation.
Some of the points of concern raised by Sam, involved i) the issue of updating new shelters into the system, once the initial mapping of the camp has been done; ii) the risk of volunteers walking around with tablets taking orders in the camp; iii) the complications of sharing personal information (such as phone numbers and shelter location) about the residents across various organizations, and still taking into account the problem of confidentiality, and iv) ensuring that the data system will be kept as intuitive as possible, so that the project can sustain itself after our departure from Calais. All of these concerns will be taking into account as we continue to develop the system.
For dinner Chris blessed us all with a nutritious meal consisting mainly of fat cream, and after a debriefing on the terrace, we all headed off to bed, anxious to hear the final result of the British Brexit referendum in the morning…