We think our Clown Doctors are pretty amazing the way they spread happiness wherever they go. Recently, some of them have taken their skills slightly further afield. On the 24th June 2016 two of Suffolk Artlink’s Clown Doctors, Kim Moore(Dr Quiver Quaver) and Lucy Enskat (Dr Dizzy Daydream) went out to Calais to volunteer with fellow artist Alfie Carpenter for Care4Calais. Below you can read Lucy’s account of the time they spent there volunteering.
I had managed to make a connection with Care4Calais before we organised the trip, making sure we were well equipped to be as useful as we could possibly be on our short visit. Prior to leaving we raised funds to buy men’s clothing and wind up lamps which are desperately needed.
On arrival we spent some time sorting donations at the Care4Calais warehouse, and then on the Saturday afternoon Care4Calais were holding a sports day for people at the refugee camp, so we took this as a good opportunity to get into our Clown Doctor costumes and visit people at the camp in a walkabout style. We were received so warmly by people on our rounds and sang a lot of songs as well as fooling around with them, raising some smiles and laughter along the way.
We met a lot of teenage boys at a make-shift restaurant that is used as a place for young people to go. On the second day we made arrangements to visit the children at the ‘Unofficial’ Women and Children’s Centre which is a bus parked near to the fence where the container accommodation stands where they have created an enclosed yard and play area at the back of the bus. They have made a safe space there for women and children and offer activities and help to all who access their services. They are doing a wonderful thing in what is otherwise a very bleak and sad situation.
We ran a play session for the children and then later went back after their scheduled activity to do a little impromptu performance for them using song, storytelling and puppets. The children really enjoyed it as we interacted with them using a funny lion puppet. We were also able to donate Dr Fillie Fidget’s wonderful Fidget and Hamish books to the centre and some crayons for colouring, which were gratefully received.
We used the time between our visits there to do some more rounds at the camp in between showers. Alfie drew a picture of a beautiful moment we had with three refugees and us singing songs to them in the rain all huddled under an umbrella.
The situation is unbearably heart-breaking there and I am struggling to find the words to describe it. The volunteer organisations are in desperate need of carefully considered donations from their priority lists but also man power to sort and distribute to the nearly 6000 people living at the camp. I hope to go back to help again but more than that I hope that the people there are given a better and more caring solution to their plights, fleeing wars and dire situations.
You can continue to donate to our Just Giving page where we are raising funds to help Care4Calais. Please follow the link below: