The tents along one side of the canal are mostly occupied by Afghans, while on the other side there are mostly Africans from Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Mauritania and Cote d’ivoire.
Empty water bottles and debris scattered around.
Abdul Jabar, 24, from Afghanistan has only been in France for the past five days, but his journey from Afghanistan took him 6 months.
He travelled from Afghanistan to Pakistan to Iran to Turkey to Bulgaria to Serbia, and then hopped on a truck to France.
“It’s very bad here. I have no bed no food and no shower and it’s very cold at night,” said Jabar who says his parents encouraged him to make the journey and ask for asylum.
When asked if he regrets the journey though, he says no. “Here there are no bombs.” Jabar says he seeks schooling, work, and a better life in France
Samsour, aged 19 and also from Afghanistan has been in France for the past three months after travelling through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Hungary, and finally Germany where his demand for asylum was rejected.
His asylum demand was also rejected in France and he now plans on going to Calais to try his chances in England.
'I regret coming here everyday'
Samsour says all he can do is continue trying. He wants to write a book about his story.
Sierra, a 19-year-old from Senegal has been in France for the past 3 months after travelling through Mali, Algeria, Libya and Italy.
“You call the asylum offices, but agents don’t take your call. I keep trying but the lines are always occupied.”
He says that even when they accept someone’s request for asylum, such as the case for his friend, you’re not given housing, and are left to live by the canal.
“I left after my parents died. I tried living with my aunt but there were too many family problems,” he said.
Sierra thought he would come to France and continue his studies in law.
“I regret coming here now. Not just sometimes, everyday I regret it. I sleep on the floor. At least back home I had a little roof over my head,” he said.
“I saw on television that France was this country of fraternity and liberty, but I come here and I’m left to this camp where there is always fighting and problems.
A fight broke out between an Afghan and some of the Africans after a member of the public began handing out food. Each group accused the other of taking too much food or keeping it to sell on later.
'Unlike any we've ever seen in Paris'