Home' Capricornus Quarterly : July 2013 Contents TANZANIA JOURNAL
Determined to make a difference
How would you cope
living in a brick room 2m
long by 3m wide, surviving
on $3 a month and having
one meal a day? It’s hard
to imagine and difficult to comprehend
but the truth is this is the reality for
millions of poverty stricken Tanzanians.
In December Tess Dowling, the 2012
School-Vice Captain, went to Tanzania
as part of a leadership program (yLead)
with 25 other young Australians
on a three week trip that would
change her outlook on life forever.
They visited local schools,
homes and orphanages, went
on a safari and trekked to the
summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“Each of us stayed overnight with
a local family,” Tess explained.
She visited with a student from
the School of St Jude who lived with
her 18 -year-old aunt. Her mum
had died from HIV and her dad
had left her. They had one single
bed to share between three people.
All they owned were some cups
and bowls and some buckets.
She was over whelmed,
though, by their generosity.
“They were so poor and yet so happy.
They wanted to give me all the food
they had, four slices of bread.”
Happiness, Tess believes,
should never be defined by what
we have but by who we are.
“It’s easy to complain, but we are
so lucky and we should be grateful
for the things in our lives rather
than the small problems,” Tess
said on her return to Australia.
“I now truly see and understand
how lucky we are to live in such a
beautiful and safe country. We are all
extremely blessed in so many ways.”
Tess, a recipient of a Grammar Global
Scholarship which was applied to the
trip, is currently on a gap year. Next
year she will attend Griffith University
to study Events Management.
“It’s my goal to make a difference
in developing countries by running
big events for charities in the future. I
believe that I can make a difference and
I am excited for what the future holds.”
With the help of Capella State
School and donations from her
local community Tess raised and
donated over $1200 to The School
of St Jude in Tanzania. CQ
I still have dreams of someone chasing
me or shooting at me and there is no way
I can stop those dreams,” Mohammad
admits, whilst his son hugs him around
the head and dangles from his neck.
Born a refugee in Iran in 1979,
Mohammad’s parents had fled Afghanistan
to the neighbouring country seeking relative
safety and stability. It didn’t last however,
and as a teenager back in Afghanistan
he was forced to flee the Taliban along
with hundreds of thousands of other
Hazaras across the border to Quetta. In
his 20s and still a man with no country,
the skilled linguist took on the dangerous
work of interpreting for Westerners when
they arrived in Afghanistan in 2001.
By 2009 it had become all too dangerous
and life threatening for Mohammad in
Afghanistan. The United Nations in Pakistan
said it would take at least 14 years to
process his requests for asylum. So at
the urging of his beloved wife he risked his
life for a chance to come to Australia.
“She pushed me 80%; my mother
20%,” Mohammed explains.
He’s one of those boat people you’ve
read about and seen on ABC’s Lateline.
Scarred. Anguished. Separated. Determined.
After a five month journey from Pakistan,
Mohammad arrived on Christmas Island
on 13 October 2009 where he spent an
additional four months in detention. He
was one of the lucky ones. Processed and
accepted as a refugee he was granted entry
to Australia on 24 February 2010, recognised
for the first time by any government as a
person with a national identity: Afghani.
When the intermittent electricity was on
in Quetta – a region beset by a separatist
movement, Taliban militants and violent
sectarian groups – he was able to Skype
and phone his wife and children as well as
his mother (who he still calls every day).
“Pakistan was and is still so dangerous....
I would love to bring her to Australia.”
Father, son, brother and breadwinner
to family in Pakistan, Mohammad is
advocate, friend and supporter to scores
of refugees coming to Rockhampton.
As a case worker for the Multicultural
Development Association since April 2012
he helps scores of men, mostly Hazara
but other immigrants from Africa, South
America and Asia, get settled here.
“ The biggest challenge for relocation is jobs
first, then language,” he explains. According
to Mohammad the Multicultural Development
Association (Rockhampton) has helped
settle some 700-800 refugees, enabling
employment to almost all who can work.
“ We try to link skilled immigrants
And whilst he helps and helped others,
Mohammad himself needed assistance to
get his wife and children here. Through a
relationship with RGS Chaplain and local
Anglican Archdeacon Cameron Venables,
Mohammad was introduced to a community
of RGS students last year who were
receptive to and motivated by his story and
desperation to be reunited with Kaniz, “the
person I love like no other” and his children.
“ We sat in a circle and we spoke about
Mohammad’s situation and were pulled
Continued on page 16
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