Many delicious #fijianwraps* later, Alex and Sophie had successfully facilitated a fortnightly music workshop at Dandenong ASRC (ASRCD) for over 6 months without a single dispute, in fact generally finding one another pleasantly pleasant and delightful to work with. Feeling extremely welcomed by the lovely staff at ASRCD, who supplied many A1 treats for everyone and to this day politely listen as the group makes a lot of noise in the communal room.
Starting the music group was no easy feat. It was, however, extremely heart-warming. Sophie and Alex had envisioned getting a group of people together, regularly, and developing skills, instrumental skills, singing skills, and then preparing for concerts!
This was a beautiful vision, however unrealistic. The first introductions were some of the most rewarding, listening to laughter, to stories, to songs, people offered dances; two Iranian men gave a wonderful dance demonstration in one of the classes, people seemed ready for music. Problem was, when?
Dates, times, schedules, meetings, deals, are often some of the most predominantly lost in cultural and linguistic translation.
What was highlighted for Alex and Sophie was the intricate difficulties of living in a state of permanent limbo, living in asylum, when it is not readily offered. Wondering why sometimes someone would come to the music group and love it, smile and sing, and then never return.
After 6 months of delivering the music group Alex and Sophie decided it was time to ramp things up. Although the group was not the mirror image of what they had envisioned, it was very special. Still, the pair were bothered by the lack of meaningful jobs that would accept asylum seekers. Jobs that would recognise the important skills and specialities at hand. With the almost King-John-esque government; where people who have undergone extreme trauma, are not provided with English learning, and have no idea whether they can call Australia home, living in limbo, ARE compelled to work, with all financial support taken away or severely cut (payments that are already more than $135 below the poverty line [Poverty in Australia, 2018])Alex and Sophie felt they must do more.
Unfortunately, they couldn't set up a Robin Hood like rebel group to steal from Malcom Turnbull's ever increasing investment properties, and tax claims. So they decided to do the next best thing: start a business.
*If the reader ever goes to Dandenong, they are advised to visit 'Fiji Cafe & Sweets', whereupon they should order a 'Jackfruit Parcel'...it will come wrapped in paper towel, then silver foil, then excessive plastic baggage...with patience and a good sense of humour Alex and Sophie whittled that down to a '#nude' parcel in their BYO Tupperware. This parcel is so tasty it should really come with a 'warning; you and your loved ones will likely develop a dependency to this product' label. Alex and Sophie rate this unassuming cafe 10/10 points; the staff are very friendly and accommodating of their #zerowaste efforts and the food is delicious, affordable and authentic (Alex and Sophie wouldn't presume to know authentic Fijian when it slaps them in the face, but a Fijian local told them so).