World Refugee Week has just finished! This time last year when I was blogging about refugee week I was just begining my journey of friendship with a wonderful refugee family from Myanmar who I helped settle into New Zealand life. It was such a privilege to become part of their life and I them and was so hard to say bye when we left Aotearoa. Since then they have had a gorgeus new addition to the family, little Daniel, and have just got a car and a license and their English is improving everyday. Praise the Lord.
I have just been reading about refugees here in the UK - there are 2 and half thousand unaccompanied refugee children in London alone, and an estimated 200 asylum seekers arriving every week through my local bus station. It is heart breaking to imagine how hard it is for them, and even sadder to think of the unwelcoming response they recieve from locals- "They sponge of the government"- that is common here in UK and NZ.
If you don't already, I encourage you to make a place in your life for the refugees and migrants in your neighbourhood. (Maybe you want to explore doing this through volunteering with an organisation. This is what I and a few friends have done. One fabulous friend told me last week that she went to visit her family and they had broken down a massive branch from their neighbours tree and it was stuck in their fire place and protruded out across the whole lounge- trying to keep warm in the frosty kiwi winter!! Anyway, if you are interested in that, kiwis check out RMS and those in UK check out Refugee Council)
So, anyway will finish this post with some of the one and only Dave Dobbyns poetry from the song "Welcome Home" which proved to be a powerful statement in New Zealand at a time when a few people were being very vocal about the influx of people from outside the borders....
tonight I am feeling for you
under the state of a strange land
you have sacrificed much to be here
‘there but for grace…’ as I offer my hand
welcome home, i bid you welcome, i bid you welcome
welcome home from the bottom of my heart
out here on the edge
the empire is fading by the day
and the world is so weary in war
maybe we’ll find that new way
so welcome home, see i made a space for you now
welcome home from the bottom of our hearts
there’s a woman with her hands trembling - haere mai
and she sings with a mountain’s memory - haere mai
there’s a cloud the full length of these isles
just playing chase with the sun
and it’s black and it’s white and it’s wild
all the colours are one