Growing up I went to seven different schools.
As a six year old kid I went from a tiny country school to a large city primary with no friends, no history, no idea what the rules were.
I’ve never felt so scared or lonely.
At my new schools my teachers and classmates’ reactions ranged from indifference to downright hostility.
But at every new place there was always a kid who went out of their way to be my friend, to show me how things worked, to make me feel welcome.
My experience as “the new kid” shaped me as an adult but when I tally it up my “tough” childhood only adds up to a handful of uncomfortable days.
When I hear my workmates from Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka tell their stories of escaping war, or famine or persecution;
– of leaving behind partners, children, parents, brothers, sisters and friends,
– of long journeys on overcrowded boats,
– of being locked up for years in Australian detention centres,
– of being released into the community with no family or friends and little English,
– of surviving on a $100 a month from the Red Cross,
– of living in fear of deportation on a temporary protection visa,
I suddenly feel very, very lucky.
Deep down we all want to belong, to be a part of something, to share our stories, our food and our music. We all want to be welcomed.
At Fair Food I see warmth offered to everyone who arrives no matter who they are. This is a culture led by people who know first-hand the power of being unconditionally accepted.
This Wednesday at 9.30am we’re celebrating Refugee Week and the Year of Welcome by welcoming Gelareh Pour, an Iranian born, Persian Kamancheh and Qeychak player and singer to perform at Fair Food’s second LIVE from the Packing Floor gig.
If you’d like a preview here’s a clip of Gelareh singing Nick Cave’s Into My Arms in Farsi.
And btw there are three native Farsi speakers working at Fair Food – I’m as excited to see their reactions as hearing Gelareh sing.
Have a great week
LIVE from the Packing Floor is a series of six livestreamed performances from the CERES Fair Food warehouse employing artists who have lost gigs during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The performances are a chance for our workers, producers and customers to share in the live music we have missing for so long.
It also highlights the plight of the 200,000 artists who have been excluded from the Federal Government’s JobKeeper allowance.