(2/2) When we first arrived in Australia, no one in the neighbourhood came to see us, which really shocked us. In Africa, when you are a new person, the neighbours always come and welcome you and bring you some food or drink. And although there was plenty of food to buy at the supermarket, we didn’t recognise any of it except rice and bread. So we bought things without knowing how to cook them, or even how to eat them! We were really like fish out of water at that time.
But eventually things got better. I started an organisation here for the Congolese community, and became a point of contact between them and all the service providers. Next, I got a job with the Brisbane City Council in a community job program. Through that job, I developed my self-esteem and my potential and one day, at the end of the program, they asked me to be a guest speaker on behalf of refugees. Soon after that, I received a call from the principal of Milperra High School, who had also been one of the guest speakers. And they offered me a job as a Teacher aide!
Later, I contacted the Kenmore Baptist church, and through them I planted a new church here. In Africa, the church is related to our culture, and music and dance is our way of expression – we dance at weddings, we dance at funerals. So if you come to our church, be prepared to dance!
I have just written my biography, to show people who have been through the same situation as me that because I made it, they can make it too. I feel there’s nothing that’s impossible. We can live beyond crisis. Crisis gives you an opportunity to use your potential, to use your ability, to overcome that crisis.
Now I am a resettled person, not a refugee. To be a refugee is just a passage, just a transition, but it’s not the end. You can use what you have to recreate your situation.
That’s what I’m doing, and that’s the message I want to give to others.
Bengankuna Constantin (Costa)
The Congo (DRC)
Read the full story here: www.patreon.com/newhumansofaustralia
#storiesnotstereotypes #inspiration #refugees #migrants #migration #Australia #Brisbane #Congo
Welcome to Australia, sir. We are so lucky to have you here. ????????
I love “I am a resettled person, not a refugee”. More people need to think like this. There is a place for everyone.
And you sir have a great smile.
I remember a message from a Kenyan woman i met who said “if you don’t invite us into your houses, how can we learn how you live, how you keep your houses and how you cook your food?”
You are right, Costa. Having lived in Africa and Australia there doesn’t seem to be a culture in Australia of welcoming people new to the neighborhood, especially in urban areas. The people of Brisbane are fortunate to have you in their midst.
Cannot agree more on “To be a refugee is just a passage, just a transition, but it’s not the end. You can use what you have to recreate your situation”
Bless you for now feeling sorry for yourself and just getting in there and making it work! You couldve quite easily just sat back and relied on benefits but you didnt and are a hard worker! Australia is extremely lucky to have you!! Thank you for taking a chance on Aus. Xx
Loved your story – second time I have read about no one welcoming them when they moved into an area – we have so much to learn too. Xo
Thank you for sharing your journey from being a “refugee to a resettled person” you are so very welcome here . I wish you the best : only happiness here.
Welcome Costa! Well done on overcoming your adversity and creating positive opportunities for others in the community. It’s great to hear your story.
Welcome to your new homeland! The beauty of Australia is that we are all from somewhere. My family is from Poland. By having such a diverse collection of cultures we can all learn so much from each other.
Love that quote! ‘Now I am a resettled person, not a refugee. To be a refugee is just a passage, just a transition, but it’s not the end’ ????????????????
It’s these rich stories that keep Australia a beautiful tapestry of interwoven lives, an element that we are losing in our culture
I’m sorry nobody welcomed you into their neighbourhood. Had you moved where lived, I would have. I’m glad things have worked out for you now & I hope we cross paths one day….you are an inspiring example to everyone.
Thank you for sharing your experience and making us aware of situations like yours, and to be more alert to new comers. Aussies are reluctant to force themselves on others,but perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here.
I will never forget your words a little over a year ago. You said you were ” a fish out of water learning how to fly” I am so glad you came and you did. P.S. your church sounds wonderful!
What an inspiration you are Costa. I wish you all the wonderful things in life that you deserve, especially peace, love, joy and a fulfilling life here in Australia ????
Well done . I have also recently moved towns and have hardly even seen my neighbours let alone an invitation to visit . It’s a very closed shop . Sad but true
People should welcome new neighbours! Even if it just a plateof scones, bottle of wine or some flowers to welcome them to the neighbourhood
That’s sad. I always welcome new neighbours with a bottle of wine and a plate of food. Whatever happened to manners, hospitality and simple kindness?
Welcome to Australia, if you had have moved into our neighbourhood you would have been greeted by the neighbours. When we moved here each one of them came and introduced themselves over the first few days. I love that you are a resettled person and may you spend the rest of your days free and happy wishing the Australian community.
Dear Bengankuna, it is people like yourself that are prepared to “make a change” that are the true pioneers of any country. We are the lucky ones to have you in our Australian Community! It is also noted about the welcome that we should try to adhere to to help and assist any new comer to integrate into this Western style of life. That message has been taken on board! Thank you!
Beautifully written, kindness goes a long way. Welcome to Australia, wishing you much luck and success here in your new home
What a beautiful story to share Costa. When I despair at political and public opinions that promote division and hate it is comforting that there are wonderful people like you who personify positivity and a willingness to work for the betterment of your community.
So good to see Costa’s smiling face, a wonderful person to work with! Will certainly be purchasing the book – congratulations! ????????
We live in Germany and the school my child goes to set up a new class to accommodate refugee children. I asked him recently, how are the refugee children going? He replied,’Mum they are not refugees any more’. True I thought, that description no longer applies as they made it here, they are safe now.