by ‘G’ Tamil refugee in Australian detention since 2009
(translated from Tamil)
I would like to share my feelings with you. I am not the owner of this feeling. You are the real owners and that’s the feeling I want to share with you.
I really do not know what the world looks like; in the past four years I have been here, the streets, towns and cities and particularly the people of Australia. I have now learnt one truth. The people of Australia really work very hard. I only learnt this information through the security officers working here. You might wonder why I could not see it through my visitors. That’s the thing. They never show their difficult side of their life to us anytime as that might worry is. But we always share our problems and feelings to them.
In a similar circumstance, I have been meeting Janelle, for the last 21 months every Wednesday and some times on other days too. In the last few months she has been delivering the donations given by you to all the refugees through me. The happiness I receive in this job on just passing your donation to the refugees is incomparable even to you the actual donators. When the young kids receive the clothes, words cannot describe the happiness and enthusiasm and the gratitude in their language they show towards me as I am giving it to them. I know I have attained that contentment that so many people are striving to achieve day in and day out.
Imagine if you were walking in a desert, and few drops of your sweat fell on a plant with no leaves and only thorns. How would you feel if next morning it sprouted a bud of a leaf? Looking at that beauty and the growth, the feeling you would receive is unspeakable.
I cannot see you from behind the bars, but your charity keeps us very happy. Please understand the value of that happiness. I would also like to describe an incident that happened.
A lady named Denise had donated 2 pairs of shoes to a disabled lady. There is no scale to measure the happiness she encountered. She went to the gym and exercised for the first time and kept on talking about the shoes very happily all day. She praised the generosity of Denise all that time.
Denise did not have that privilege of enjoying that lady’s feelings, but I did. The real owner of the feeling was Denise.
This kind of good feelings and attitudes keeps you very much alive and happy in spite of going through a very hard time. I once again reinforce that your participation has a major impact on my experience.
You might ask, ‘why you don’t get such a feeling when SERCO gives you all the necessary things, and in what way is it different?’ SERCO provides typical uniform type clothes to everyone and it feels like we are prisoners and the clothes donated by you is not the same as that. That sure makes a big difference and we are very obliged and grateful to you.
Also see G’s other writings on Peril :
I see the moon and the moon sees me
Reflective thoughts from a Sri Lankan refugee… now a prisoner…but free!
and Margaret Mayhew’s “The practice of hope” on Peril