The Free Press (Corowa)
Refugee “neighbours” become “friends”
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.”