The connection to others
A marauding with volunteers from a local unit of the French Red Cross in Dijon Métropole.
Is it still necessary to present some of the voluntary actions of the French Red Cross? I think so!, it seems necessary, especially at a time when we see a certain withdrawal into oneself and a form of individualism that continues to progress. Example of one of these volunteer missions: “La maraude”.
This is one of the cornerstones of this humanitarian association, a journey of support for the most vulnerable people in great precariousness. A field action that this association, like others, organizes daily throughout our territory.
Indeed, the long period linked to the Covid 19 health crisis has generated more support for isolated and fragile people.
One evening, I therefore asked to follow a team of these volunteers from the French Red Cross into the field, to be with those who do not count their time to serve as a link and help others.
At the local unit of the French Red Cross based in Quétigny, there are a hundred of all ages to carry out every evening, from November 1 to March 31, 7 days a week, the course of a marauding, from 6:15 p.m. to midnight. In spring, summer and autumn, the maraudes are more spaced out, depending on the month, from 2 to 3 per week.
Among all these volunteers we find retirees together with students. They take turns, for example, 25 first-year BSB students from the Dijon Business School, as part of a 40-hour partnership for these humanitarian missions.
At the Dijon Métropole local unit, everything starts at 6:15 p.m. with the preparation of snacks, sandwiches, soup and hot drinks. Then, departure from the two distribution sites located in the city center of Dijon. There, at times set by the association, people in need meet.
Everyone can, by sharing a snack, discuss, exchange, learn. This is also an opportunity to get emergency clothing, such as socks, gloves, a hat, underwear, a blanket and a hygiene kit.
But the work of volunteers never stops there. After a short break and until midnight, they have to, if possible, look for or find the lonely and isolated people, some they already know or, on the contrary, those they will discover by chance in order, they say, to get in touch to inquire about their needs, if these people wish.
That evening, the leader of a team of 6 volunteers in two vehicles of the French Red Cross, is in direct contact by telephone with 115 for reasons and urgent needs, to take care of victims of spousal violence or a single person in potential danger, looking for an anchor point to spend the night in shelter. In this case, the team made up of three volunteers per vehicle, accompanies the person in suffering to a safe place of accommodation, provided of course that there is a free space that evening. It is clear that places for unplanned sleeping arrangements are often sold out and that accommodation places are not legion either. But there are also those who prefer to remain alone, who have found a place to sleep under a bridge or under a makeshift shelter. For the volunteer, it is therefore here out of respect for this choice of the person met, a short moment of exchange of words and support. Finally, the team goes to the station for the arrival of the last train, the one before the closing of this public place. It is still the opportunity to meet here, the one who could be in need, but the mission is never simple, when the station is about to close. During all these diﬀerent meetings in the night, the volunteers also find the regulars of the place, each one is called by his first name, Pierre, Catherine, Manu, Cyril, Karim, Christophe, Noëlle, Mohamed… The next day, the volunteers of the French Red Cross will be there again. Thus, the beneficiaries will be able, if they wish, to find emergency food or clothing aid, support and enjoy these little moments of social bonding. With a hot drink, they can talk and discuss their lives…