By Shân Ross
Eritrean AthletesSMILING and signing autographs in the hospitality tent in Holyrood Park after the World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh last year, the team of athletes representing Eritrea gave no indication of the dangerous action they were about to take.

By Shân Ross
Eritrean AthletesSMILING and signing autographs in the hospitality tent in Holyrood Park after the World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh last year, the team of athletes representing Eritrea gave no indication of the dangerous action they were about to take.

The first thing you notice is the smell. Sour and rancid, it cuts at the back of your throat; a powerful combination of rotting food, urine and sweat. Next it’s the flies, lots of them, circling in a frenzy. Then, out of the gloom, a pair of eyes emerges, and another – and then the shape of a young man, sleeping deeply on one of the grubby mattresses that line the floor of this derelict place. A few minutes from the centre of Calais, this is “Africa house”, so called because of the 40 or 50 Eritrean asylum seekers who now squat here, waiting and hoping.

The first thing you notice is the smell. Sour and rancid, it cuts at the back of your throat; a powerful combination of rotting food, urine and sweat. Next it’s the flies, lots of them, circling in a frenzy. Then, out of the gloom, a pair of eyes emerges, and another – and then the shape of a young man, sleeping deeply on one of the grubby mattresses that line the floor of this derelict place. A few minutes from the centre of Calais, this is “Africa house”, so called because of the 40 or 50 Eritrean asylum seekers who now squat here, waiting and hoping.