Together we prayed, played, celebrated and sat in silence. Heart is full of love and gratitude for what it received from the family of Grasse in last 11 days. Sharing time with Mukesh bhai and meeting old friends Genieve, Anne Marie and others was so special. Over flowing love of Catherine, who hosted us all in her home and heart made me think can I do the same for others with such intensity and emotion. As if this was all not enough, later I discovered in my bag an envelope with money and a smile card saying “with love for your inner journey”. Money become sacred when offered and received like this and becomes a bread for the journey for a pilgrim.
With a beating heart, I leave grasse for Calais, in the north of France. With the wars raging in Syria, their homes destroyed and with the biggest fear of witnessing their children being killed in front of their eyes, thousands of people are fleeing the country and trying to migrate to Europe. But Europe has been struggling with its own challenges against terrorism, which makes them fearful and cautious to welcome anyone else in their homes.
Humanity seems to be standing in the crossroads, longing for that one connection, one signal, one gesture which could make them feel, ‘I am no other, but I am you’.
In the north of France, Calais is a small town, where migrants are coming via boats, kissing the grounds as they reach as many perished on their way in the sea.
Inspired by my friend Iman who volunteered their before, I contact a volunteer Organisation Care4calais and within hours I immediately get a response of approval.
And now as I sit in the train in Paris to go towards Calais, I can’t help but feel a bit of excitement and knots in my stomach for the experience which is about to come. I remember when I first thought of volunteering with the Refugees, I felt a bit afraid, reasons clouding my mind, cautious to go in a unknown place, in a foreign country, without proper visa permissions etc and yet their was deep longing to connect with humanity, with the Syrian families, who till now just felt distant in international news column.
I remembered the sisters from Vinoba Ashram who told me once, “every heart is broken, so you go and heal others and as you heal them, you heal yourself. “
So with a heart full of love, some heart pins in my pockets, little knots in my stomach and a prayer on my lips… I prepare myself for Calais.