Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Sometimes a simple thing makes you really stop and think

Jerry's just started doing some volunteer work with a refugee resettlement program run by Vinnies. Each family that arrives - as well as their DOCS and other caseworkers - is 'given' a group of 5 or 6 volunteers who help them settle in to life in Australia. The volunteers do all kinds of things - from driving people to appointments, taking them shopping, helping explain the way different things work (the rental market, schools, shoping, eletricity bills etc etc) as well as just dropping in and helping them practice their English.

Jerry's been placed with a group looking after a Bhutanese family. They've already been here a few months. On Sunday Jerry and I went to the 'big smoke' (well, the little-big smoke of Albury!) for a bit of a get together with the family and the other volunteers. This was the first time we met them. We drove the father and eldest boys (in their teens) to the meeting place and on the way there Jerry asked the eldest what was the one thing they liked most about Australia so far. With no hesitation at all he said "It's peaceful".

I'm still really struck and quite moved by this, and the though of what their life must have been like in the camps to make this the first and over-riding good thing about being here. Intellectually we know that we are lucky and have a good life here, but it does take something like that to make you stop, think and really appreciate just HOW lucky we really are.

If you want to know more about Bhutan and the refugee situation try this link http://www.bhutaneserefugees.com/index.php?id=1

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