Mehdi arrived in Australia seeking asylum in 2011 at the age of 15. Here he shares his experience as a refugee and the long journey towards healing, holding onto hope and finding community.
Kubra lives in Adelaide with her young family after leaving Pakistan to seek asylum in Australia in 2010. Here she and Carly Squire reflect on the bond of friendship they have shared for more than five years and the continued joy of sharing life and discovering connection together.
Kubra: If I decided to write about friendship with my limited English, it would be very difficult to mention the real meaning of friendship.
These day's it's very hard to find a true and loyal friend. The one who stands by at the time of need and difficulties. As the saying goes "A friend in need is a friend indeed".
I'm one of those lucky ones who found a true friend. Her name is Carly. I truly learnt the real meaning of friendship from her.
Friendship has an important and valuable role in our life, no matter where you come from or what religion you belong to. A good friend gives emotional support to face those difficulties.
Carly was the one and only person who came with a bunch of beautiful yellow flowers when I lost my beloved Mother.
Carly and her kind hearted family were the only people who came and visited us through the windows on days I came from hospital with my newborn baby girl Hadiya during Pandemic days.
Carly and I share our happy moments. Carly and I share our emotional experiences. Carly and I give suggestions and solutions to each other.
We are happy, our kids are happy while spending time with each other. So much love and peace.
Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.
1 Peter 4:9-10
Carly: Kubra was one of the first people I met at the local library story time when we moved to Salisbury, north of Adelaide five years ago from the other side of town. My first child was one years old at the time, a human ball of energy with a love for de-shelving books. During these early exploration years we would walk or ride most days from our new place, rocking up to anywhere that little kids were welcome, full of hope that I’d find a friendly understanding face and some new friends.
Kubra has always had such a welcoming smile, a calm warm presence and is always ready to laugh. We kept bumping into each other at playgroups and libraries until one morning I noticed Kubra talking with her friend and looking very distressed. Her mother had passed away suddenly in Afghanistan and she was here in Australia overwhelmed by grief, thousands of kilometers away from her family. I will never be able to comprehend what that traumatic experience for her was like, as I live with the roll-of-the-dice privilege of having all my family around me in relatively peaceful Australia.
I visited her that week and in that time of pain and vulnerability she so kindly welcomed me in. We talked openly about her mum, played with kids and drank plenty of green tea with cardamom.
While my ancestors may have come to South Australia from Germany and England a few generations earlier than Kubra’s, and therefore our experiences of living in Australia have many differences, our friendship is truly one of genuine mutual care. We both have an open curiosity to learn about each other's views of the world and how we experience our relationship with God.
How much more delightful is discovering something precious or ordinary that we have in common than stressing about our differences?
She is a safe, non-judgemental and grounded friend and a deeply wise woman in all things parenting and her very loveable children are always up for an outdoor adventure together with us. She also has a brilliant sense of humour and playfulness and is a wonderfully creative soul. I love that my children have enjoyed sharing Iftar, (breaking the fast) during Ramadan and also sharing ginger bread making rituals at Christmas. The blessing she shared at my daughter’s dedication was such a gift and acknowledgment that we live from the same source of love.
She holds multiple worlds and cultures in her heart and mind. I honour how much it can cost her to continually create a life for her family here while she is constantly empathising with the struggle of her beloved's overseas. I am constantly fascinated by her capacity to try and raise children to embrace all that life in Australia offers, while being connected to their roots as young Afghan Muslim woman. Especially during this last year of tragedy and fear in Afghanistan.
This takes a lot of emotional energy and I honour her courageous efforts to care for herself and explore her continually evolving sense of identity. Watch this space, this woman will only bring more of her wonderful spirit of love, inclusion and courage into the world. Once her kids let her sleep through the night!
Thank you for showing us the meaning of true friendship,
where we are called to carry each other’s burdens and love at all times.
Help us to remain curious, open and ready to share in life’s blessings
with all peoples, from all nations, cultures and religions.
May the connections we make enrich our lives and create spaces for healing.
Take action and join the conversation
Take action this Refugee Week by sharing this series and connecting with your friends, family and faith community to talk about how we can all help contribute to a country and communities that always 'seek to heal and never to harm' those seeking safety on our shores.
Share your reflections from this post, prayers and join the conversation by commenting on today's Common Grace Facebook, Instagram or Twitter post or write your own using the hashtag #RefugeeWeek2022.
Carly Squire lives on Kaurna Country, Adelaide, with her husband and three young children. She has a background working with Youth Leadership Programs at the Australian Refugee Association and is part of a Community Church that seeks to welcome and outreach to their broad community in Salisbury.
Kubra is a busy mother of four young children who loves arts, crafts, baking and decorating. Originally from Afghanistan, Kubra grew up in Pakistan before coming to Australia in 2010.