A dark night. images from the Jungle of Calais

Michele Spagnolo


Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France

And then is already almost dark. The long and dark winter's night. There's a lot of people walking around even if it's cold, even if it's dark. Someone try to heat up around a campfire, someone just walk, looking at nowhere lost in his mind. It's almost 7 p.m. and it's almost night.

Another night is coming in "The Jungle" of Calais.

As every night migrants prepare themselves, as every night they will try to reach their dream. Night is the most lively moment of the day here in Calais. I have almost the impression that days are only intervals between nights. Is at night that all the expectations, the dreams, the wishes and the fears of the people who lives here arise.

Because if you have a chance to reach your dream it will be at night.

The Jungle is a big refugee camp situated in Calais, France.

Approximately 6000 people lives in this camp. They come from Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, Pakistan, Kuwait and many other places.

They call Ali, Hamed, Majnoun, Samir, Youssuf and they have only one dream: to reach UK.

Only 32 km separes Calais from Dover in United Kingdom. And if you come from Afghanistan, Sudan or Eritrea 32 km are not that much. But...

But even if every night many of them try to pass, to reach their dream, often risking their life,controls are more and more efficient. Every night the dream breaks down, almost nobody succeed.

There are lights shining over the highway that goes through the tunnel, through the harbour. Bluelights, the lights of the police's car watching, monitoring, patrolling.

The last frontier that they have to cross, that 32 km are almost unsurmountable.

"Every night I try but no chance" is maybe the most common expression in The Jungle of Calais.

A guy invites me in his tent, we drink a tea and we talk for a while. He comes from Afghanistan and he has big blue eyes flashing in the dark. I leave him because he must prepare himself. Tonight, like every night he will try to reach Great Britain. Outside is raining. We shake hands and I said: "Goodluck!"

A dark night around me, around the people waiting to reach a dream. But for almost everybody the road, the long and hard road that they have covered, ends here, among the mud and the huts of the Jungle, waiting for another night.

"I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still

Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb

I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from

Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there."

Bob Dylan - Not dark yet

This project was selected for selected for the Digital Projections at Indian Photo Fest (Hyderabad - India)

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