Refugee “neigh­bours” be­come “friends”

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

A group of 50 refugees from Mel­bourne ar­rived at St Mary’s Hall in Corowa on Satur­day, March 24.

The suc­cess­ful event was or­gan­ised by The “Who is My Neigh­bour” com­mit­tee with the sup­port of com­mu­nity groups and busi­nesses in Corowa.

A li­ai­son be­tween the Corowa “Who is My Neigh­bour” group and “Pi­o­neer Chris­tian Min­istry” for Refugees now known as “Sum­mit Min­istry” in Mel­bourne made the event pos­si­ble.

Af­ter a hearty lunch on Satur­day, the vis­i­tors were taken to Tony Pig­gin’s farm.

They wit­nessed a pivot ir­ri­ga­tor wa­ter­ing, sheep shear­ing and wool han­dling.

They par­tic­u­larly en­joyed watch­ing Tony’s sheep dogs in ac­tion.

Some of the refugees made com­par­isons from their ex­pe­ri­ence of rural life in their home­land with Tony’s farm which cre­ated great con­ver­sa­tion.

The refugees also vis­ited the Oil Tree La­goon where Corowa District Land­care mem­ber Sally Hughes gave a talk about the first Aus­tralian’s Trav­el­ling Stock Re­serves and the lo­cal flora and fauna.

The refugees could re­late to the dif­fi­cul­ties that Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple have borne and were very in­ter­ested in our bush en­vi­ron­ment.

That even­ing an ec­u­meni­cal ser­vice was led by Fa­ther Rex at the guide hall with mu­sic pro­vided by the Bap­tist band.

This was fol­lowed by a de­li­cious meal and mu­sic by the “Wine, Women and Song” group.

The hall was packed and the even­ing was an amaz­ing com­mu­nity ef­fort.

Corowa churches, many lo­cal busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als con­trib­uted to the event in­clud­ing; Corowa and District Land­care, Corowa Tree of Life Com­mu­nity Gar­den, Corowa Guides, St Mary’s School, Cann’s Bus Line, Corowa Lion’s Club, Corowa Bak­ery, Corowa IGA and Wool­worths.

The do­na­tions by these groups were tremen­dous and highly ap­pre­ci­ated.

Af­ter spend­ing Satur­day night with host fam­i­lies, the group gath­ered for brunch and a farewell at the Corowa Com­mu­nity Gar­dens on Sun­day morn­ing.

The group were in very high spir­its and many friend­ships were made in the short pe­riod of time that the refugees vis­ited.

Ben Foo, one of the or­gan­is­ers from Pi­o­neers Min­istry, said the group “ar­rived as friends and left as fam­ily.”

Corowa res­i­dents mak­ing friends with the refugees vis­it­ing from Mel­bourne.

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