Some of you may think this is a bleak place to start a New Years blog post…
and in many ways it is, but I don’t know how else to write about it , so here goes….
Vapouring mountainous pots of basmati rice and black bean stew, veg and a cheering slaw side, await the patient file of workers at the Help Refugees warehouse.
Its cold in here as its December and the main doors remain open all day so the respectful drove of workers can work, like a patchwork quilt bound together by a universal thread of hope.
The kitchen has been chopping, broiling, sautéing, all morning for about 1500 meals.
Prodigious pots on gas rings manned by cheery voulenteers du jour.
Coconut basmati rice, feathery, flocculent and flawless.
The perfect accopanyment to this symphony. Laddels of black bean stew warms us with subtle lamina of spice.
Finely grated salad teetering precociously on the side.
A triumph of brussel sprouts armoured in butter eagerly awaited by all. Known as “the best brussels!”
It is Christmas after all!
We all queue up politely like the English do so well. Even the head chef queues up for his lunch.
We all sit at the communal tables, some stand as there is not enough space for all.
Having spent the morning with heartening strangers, I’m eager to see what my partner had been up to in the woodyard.
Narratives of what we’ve been up to launch, expeditiously, conversation turns to current political disfunction, Brexit and Yellow Jackets. How long people are volunteering for? Where people are staying? What people are doing on Christmas day?
Christmas is such a transient time.
We are a table of 20 somethings, 40 somethings and 60 somethings. One guy looks like he’s been through a lot, like a map of his past logged lines on his face. He’s jocose and bright, I respect this guy, he looks like he’s conquered his shit.
Slowly our bellies are kindled and eagerly a feeling of calefaction, of restoration and faith in humanity fattens us.
Cheerily we queue up to wash plates and offer to wash each others plates. Theres a sense of fellowship here.
For a while I daydream wondering how I could make the whole process better, more efficient. Then I realise that by making the process more “efficient” you loose connection with others, become less human.
Missing the point. Isn’t that what big corporations, governments and society have done?
We’ve become disassociated? Watching everything through your IPhone and not being or sharing experience with others. Not feeling or connecting with yourself or others. This is a sure immunisation of how we can best avoid ourselves and others.
One more thing to say… There are earnest inspiring people right NOW helping, of ALL ages. This shit is happening now! If you have curiosity or an inkling of “I should help”… DO IT!
You will meet marvellous people and help marvellous people.