New Year’s Eve is bound to be different everywhere, as a party, or a special occasion. But how would you be able to celebrate if you were homeless and vulnerable on the streets of Calais?

In addition to  Salam’s incredible food distribution, they ended  the New Year’s Eve distribution with a party. Music was played over loud speakers mounted on top of a van with Sudanese and No Borders activists dancing to Afghani music, under instruction from Pashto mentors; everyone dancing to Bob Marley’s ‘Exodus’, whilst the snow continued to fall.

For the lead up to midnight, the City of Calais held a free festival with a fire show planned, which on their publicity said ‘everyone was welcome’ so activists made a poster to let people from the cold weather shelter know that they could come too!

A group of Afghan boys aged 12 and upwards, with a collection of activists, Afghani men, Palestinians, Egyptians and Iraqi’s joined Calais locals and tourists alike, for a truly integrated way to begin 2010, which lifted everybody’s spirits.  Everyone enjoyed the fireworks and some stayed in the warm fire lit festival until 4am, whilst CRS vans circled the city centre continuing to look out in the cold for the ‘migrants’.

Calais can be inspiring, a place to form alliances and make friends. We can cross cultures and language barriers by dancing together and with such a great start to the new year there is also new hope for a better future.

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