Saturday, 28 January 2017

First solo service, safety meetings, and the Vicente family.

I did my first solo service today running the kitchen. By solo I totally mean team effort, with many people involved, but it was a menu I put together and executed. It's was terrifying! Back home if I mess up a dish, my boss gets angry, I probably get sworn at, but ultimately I've just messed up a small amount food for one person. Here if I mess it up, it's 600 people's worth of food, 600 people who might only eat this one thing today. Luckily it came off good. We did a chicken curry main, with potato, mustard seeds, chicken, mint and preserved lemon, with a chicken skin crisp and a tomato and onion rice. It was well received both at the warehouse and the camp, so I'm pretty happy to have to got over that first daunting challenge.

After work today we had a pretty serious meeting about a few things. The biggest is safety when in camp. I talked yesterday about the mafia, and rape etc, and how there can be real danger, well today there have been some new guidelines implemented to ensure volunteer safety, which is really good. The guys who run the kitchen are really on it with regards to things like this, and that's heartening, but there's always that little niggling thought in the back of your mind saying 'what if something happened to a friend of mine'. Still fingers crossed it won't!

OK, onto much happier things. There was a good mood around the warehouse today as news of a refugee who was well liked and had helped RCK setup in camp, had made it to the UK unharmed. The refugees become friends with us pretty quickly, so you worry about them getting hurt trying to get into the country. A young guy was killed in the motorway just last week trying to make the crossing, sadly this is all too common, so when someone people know makes it unharmed it's a big deal, and really lifts spirits.

Last night was my last night in the guesthouse with the Vicente family. I'm going to really miss them all, but I think I'm going to head back and have dinner with them in the next week or two. Sylvie is amazing, and inspirational! She does so much work helping the refugees who want to settle in France, get setup. She loves and cares for so many of them that she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. If this was 80 years ago I can see her being high up in the French resistance, helping smuggle Jews out of the country or helping allied spies, cest formidable! Oscar is a pretty damn cool kid, he's 11 and properly into graffiti, I spent quite a while showing him photos of graf in Bristol, and Sylvie is going to take him to Upfest (a graf festival in bristol) maybe later in the year, I hope she does and I can maybe show them around Briz. Celeste has been so much fun to hang out with, neither of us really speak each others language, but we play top trumps, uno, or with her hoverboard  and have lots of fun, maybe it's because we have the same mental age, 8. They have all been so welcoming and it's made my first week here a really smooth transition. I'm going to miss them all very much, but being on the campsite will be cheaper and mean I can stay longer, so it has to be done.

I don't have a kurdish word today, I'm trying not to cheat and use the internet, rather learning directly from the refugees, I will try again tomorrow.


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