30th DECEMBER 2019, Dunkirk
Following failed attempts after our last convoy to get tea urns delivered to the Refugee Women’s Centre (RWC) team (who knew tea urns were such a rarity outside the UK?), and not wanting refugees already having to sleep in sub-zero temperatures to wait another three weeks before they could access a hot drink or two, I decided it was time for a quick, ‘silent’ trip across the Channel.
Or as my mum calls it, ‘going-007’ – but without the cool gadgets, designer clothes, or kitted-out car (in fact, I think Bond would actually opt for death rather than be seen in a 16-year old Nissan Micra or a second-hand Honda).
This was a ‘silent’ trip, because thanks to the wonderful beans at Aldingbourne Primary School who raised £400.00 for us via the phenomenal Mrs Lucy Griffiths and a Tintin-themed bazaar; the wonderful ladies of Rotherham who swiftly raised over £1,000 practically overnight, and some dear friends who quickly helped order some of the goods we needed, I could go ahead with this delivery without putting a public call-out for funds. A huge relief, because one of the last things I want to do at times, is ask for yet more funds and goods – especially so soon after our last convoy call-out.
It’s never easy asking for help, especially when you have to do it quite regularly. And I have a deeply held fear of tiring people out or adding to ‘compassion fatigue’.
But as a dear friend reminded me, ‘None of this is for you. It’s for other people and it also gives us a chance to step up when we can. So quit feeling guilty!’
Wise words indeed. But I still love it when I can just head out quickly and relatively quietly, so whenever the need is urgent and time-sensitive, it feels like a gift to have everything in place already.
Thanks to everyone’s trust and those stored up funds, this solo mission not only led to the delivery of those precious electric tea urns and gifts of hot water dispensers to the RWC, but also led to the delivery of:
- Sudocrem tubs for babies suffering with nappy rash;
- antiseptic creams for teens and adults with cuts and infections on their hands and feet;
- new clothes, waterproof shoes, underwear and warm footwear for babies aged 9-months to 2 years;
- winter coats and boots for men and women, and
- fresh foods for our refugee families.
None of the above would have been possible had it not been for beans, little and big, acting to ensure I had everything I needed to head out on this delivery without hesitation or worry.
Which makes ‘going 007’ on occasion, one of the best jobs in the world to undertake.