Still waiting for word when the Afghani refugee family I will be mentoring will arrive, but in the meantime it has been a relatively quiet volunteering week past – just Erin Earth gardening, BUGS (Eco-Spirituality) at Erin Earth, and Youth mentoring. I’m also a delegate to the NSW Greens State Council meeting coming up on Saturday.
Yesterday more mentoring of my ‘naughty boys’ through the Ignite youth mentoring program in Ashmont. Weather was wet, so they were a bit ‘friskier’ than usual.
Still waiting for the Afghani family I will be mentoring through the Refugee Settlement program to arrive. They were due on Wednesday but their arrival is delayed because Mrs. Hussain is sick. I’m looking forward to this, but am feeling a bit trepidatious as I’ll be out of my ‘comfort zone’, given that they don’t speak English, though I’m hoping the teenage kids will have picked some up. Nonetheless, I’ll take my Middle East phrase book with me, as it has a section on Dari, the majority language in Afghanistan, though of course there is no guarantee that this will be the language the Hussains speak.
I’m amazed at anyone’s courage in becoming a refugee, as they will of course be more than out of their ‘comfort zone’. But I guess the alternative is much worse. My heart bleeds for them and as always I condemn those men (it is usually men) whose militarism and politicking has brought them to this.
I’ll keep you posted.
Volunteerism yesterday was limited to gardening work at Erin Earth, an Eco Education garden here in Wagga. I was cutting back saltbush shrubs! Sounds menial, but it is important, because the plants are necessary to help combat the salinity prevalent in this area, but they do get overgrown, so I’m helping them to do what they are intended to do.
The physical exercise, which also involves cycling up there, is of course good for my health. Retirement could get very sedentary, so the gardening and the cycling helps to combat it.
Yesterday Mentoring Youth at Risk high school pupils as part of the Ignite program, another volunteer role I’m now undertaking. Its very worthwhile. The high schoolers I’m mentoring are good kids, and though lacking focus and ambition are very friendly and incredibly honest, and so great to work with.
It’s only an hour a week, but nonetheless a very worthwhile program.
Amnesty International letter writing last night with my local group, with which I have just joined. We meet for an hour or so once a month and write to various heads of state about specific cases of human rights abuse. Very fulfilling, and though I doubt the letters are ever read, let alone replied to, every little bit counts. Its a broader part of my peace activism.