We’re just an everyday mob of Australians that want to help people seeking asylum in our country…
The Bosco Social Justice Group report on their latest community picnic with asylum-seekers:
“What a buzz there was in Audley last Monday where over 50 parishioners, friends and family had gathered to prepare a picnic to welcome a group of over 30 people seeking asylum. There was much to do, tables to set, salads to prepare… The excitement and anticipation waiting for the bus was palpable. Soon it was all ready and there was nothing to do but wait for the bus to arrive. Down the hill it came, over the Causeway- at last they were here! There were friends from many lands … friends seeking asylum in Australia from Rwanda, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka. They were greeted by friendly smiles and picnic tables set with homemade cakes, fruit and fresh salads. What a sight it was!
Highlights of the day
- The bus
We are very grateful for the generosity of the Transport Workers Union in providing the 53 seater bus for us. The words of support from the TWU staff lifted our spirits. “The blokes back in the Office are all behind you in this.”
During the trip over, teaching Kookaburra Sits on the Old Gum Tree to new friends from Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan, with the folk at the back of the bus joining in, was so much fun…And then what excitement and delight as a real live kookaburra was spotted sitting in the rafters of the picnic shed …
- The Park
The weather was just about perfect and the Park looked fabulous. After lunch the group set off for a walk along the river. There was so much for our visitors to see… colourful parrots, kingfishers, and some more kookaburras. Best of all was the mingling of our two groups as we walked along…
“There’s nothing like this where we live. The trees, the river, this is a beautiful place…”
- The Bosco community….
Support from the community was overwhelming – with donations of food, donations of cash and words of encouragement like these from a resident of John Paul Village, “You’re doing something good here. It really matters…take this to help buy some of the food…” Most of all it was the presence of so many offering hospitality and friendship that made the day such a success.
What parishioners said,
“We’re just an everyday mob of Australians that want to help people seeking asylum in our country feel welcome.”
“We wanted to give these people a real Aussie BBQ – and that’s what we did!”
“This, this is real community.”
“It feels like it’s something that’s come from a lot of hearts…. “
“I felt like I was part of something big – our community.”
“This is Bosco community at its best! “
- Having fun together
The parachute. What a joy it was to see everyone together! Race and colour didn’t count– all that mattered was having fun….
- Gratitude from our visitors
“Back in my country, I belonged to a minority group. I stood out. I was like a deer just waiting to be shot at…. I’m lucky to be here, but where I live is not like this. I came to the picnic last year. It was wonderful. I put my name on the list to come as soon as I saw it.”
“This is a very special day for me. It’s the first time I’ve mixed with local people. You have been so welcoming. So lovely. So good. I’ve made good connections with people today…”
“I liked meeting new friends, eating, kids playing and walking to the mountain and river. The whole family was very happy. The food was better than nothing else.”
A big thank you to all who supported the picnic. Special thanks to the Transport Workers Union for supplying the bus, to staff from Settlement Services International for all the help with the logistics, to staff from St Patrick’s Primary School for supplying fruit, and to all the parishioners and friends and family who supported the picnic in any way.
In a sense we are sowing seeds of change…We can’t solve the big picture problems, but we can sure do something to help those that are here.”
To learn more about establishing your own parish Social Justice Group, click here.
To read the 2015-2016 ACBC Social Justice Statement, ‘For those who’ve come across the seas’, click here.