Herbs To Calais - Ready to Go

Date: 18/03/2016 Posted by: Dafydd Monks

Snowdonia Botanical Medicine is going to Calais. I am volunteering as a medic in the migrant camp known as 'The Jungle'

So, I'm going to Calais. From the moment I heard that herbalists were involved in helping provide medical care there, I have been drawn to help, and as soon as my colleague Laura appealed for others to join her on a trip to the Migrant Camp, I said 'yes' - even before I'd had time to think of the implications. It feels like my human duty to go - to do this. To turn down the opportunity to get directly involved while it is so achievable feels like committing treason to my own humanity.

Herbs to Calais

So, I go. To do whatever I can to help, however I can, with the skills I have. These people need me. But also my own people need me - they need me to go and bear witness to this - and to act as their eyes there. Also, to be the instrument of their own action. To do what they cannot do directly but can through me.

On a personal level, I feel slightly scared - this will test my clinical skills to their limits. On an emotional level, I know that the people I will help will leave marks in my heart that will perhaps always be there. 

But all these things that scare me also excite me. There is a sense of adventure here. Even if it is just from sticking up two fingers at a system that allows so many people to suffer in this way.

In the past few days, life has been a whirlwind of busyness, preparing medicines and equipment for the trip. We are going out with a large quantity of herbal medicines donated by many people and some organisations. But I have made my own contribution. So far it stands at:

  • Antibacterial Wound Spray:                 250 ml

  • Immune Sweets:                                  2 Kg.

  • Strong Cough Sweets:                         1Kg

  • Liquorice + Thyme Cough Syrup          2L

  • Immune Boosting Syrup                        1L

  • Muscle + Bone Ointment:                      1.5 Kg

  • Decongestant Chest Rub                      1Kg

  • Antibacterial Infected Foot Ointment      1 Kg
Medicines Prepared to take to Calais

The Sweets are my own invention for this trip. They are a form of medication that children will find very much palatable and easy to take, and getting medicine into children is hard enough at the best of times. If I'm honest, if the sugar can get a few extra calories into them, then so be it, as many are going hungry.

There is a lot of traumatic injury in the camps, and this is the reason behind taking so much muscle/bone healing ointment. My patients may recognise it as the muscle and bone ointment I make for rheumatism and injuries, etc. It is highly effective and I've taken enough for 850 single doses, or 150 small pots.

Another problem amongst the migrants is foot problems. They have often spent months in the same socks and boots. Fungal and bacterial infections are rife.

The antibacterial wound spray is especially needed as infected wounds are also common, I'm told. As are conditions like gangrene and tissue necrosis around wounds...

So I'm off early in the morning of the 20th and we will do a day in the camp clinic when we get there, so expect my next post to be from the evening of the 20th!