Friday, 26 June 2015

In their own words (part 2)

More of my students' stories:

I come from Sudan. I was born in Sudan in 1983. I lived in Sudan 24 years, and 3 years in Kuwait for work. I come from UK in December 2014. Now I live in Birmingham with my husband. My family live in Sudan I love my family, I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters. My parents is alive. My father is big manager in company.
Sudan is in North Africa. Sudan is beautiful. The biggest city of Sudan is Khartoum. Sudan is very hot in summer.  In Sudan we have some animals like elephants and lion in the national parks. I love my country but the government is not good because it is no justice and does not give me freedom. All the people migrate to another country.
I’m come to the UK I travelled by aeroplane. The plane took off flying 8 hours to UK. The plane arrived to Heathrow airport. My journey was very enjoyable. I am happy in the UK.

I was born in Eritrea and I grow up there. I lived in Eritrea about 24 or 25 years. And I came to England in 2013. I live in England for about 2 years and I like it in Birmingham.
Eritrea is a small country in the north east of Africa.  It is a beautiful country. It has a big sea coast The population of Eritrea is 3 million and it has nine languages. Each language it has its own culture and own tradition. Eritrea has a nice weather and the people are very friendly. I love my country it is like heaven for me.
My beginning in the UK is really good because there is a change in my life. When I came to the UK I found other cultures and languages so I tried to know about them and it was a little bit difficult but I have to know it because I have to make friends and to know people in order to work. Thank you.

I am 20 years old. I was born in Eritrea. A long time I lived in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. I lived with my father. My mother she’s not alive. I don’t have sister and brother. I’m married. I don’t have children. Before I live in many countries. This year February I came in the UK. I live in Birmingham. I’m happy to be here.
Eritrea has good food. It is a beautiful country. Lovely and quiet people. We have many languages.
Before when I arrived in the UK I am coming from France. I am coming from France by lorry. Its difficult for me. Lorry like the freezer. When I arrived in the UK the first weeks difficult for me. I am happy but difficult for me. In the hostel they make rice all the time but I don’t like rice! Its difficult for me. After the hostel I am happy because I make myself. And the most important for me, I have freedom.  I'm going school. I learn English language. I’m happy.

I come from Iran. I come in UK 8th June 2014. I live in Birmingham, in shared house, with three friends from different countries. One is from Sri Lanka, another one is Sudan, another one from Syria. My family all is in Iran, I mean my country. I have 2 sisters and three brothers. I didn’t marry,  maybe nobody loves me! Anyway, thank you, you try to help me and I am happy.
My country is Iran. Big country has 75 million people. The capital name is Tehran and big city maybe have 11 million people. It is a rich country because have oil. I love my country. We have good people, kind people. We have many factories. They are very clever, I mean Iranian people. But we have big problem. My government is not good because they don’t care about the people. They are corrupt. They take money they send another country, they send for terrorism, like this. This big problem, my governemt, because they like the Muslims, just Shias, not the Christians, not another religion. My people I mean more they don’t like my government.

I come from Angola. I live in Birmingham. I have three sisters, two live in Angola and one lives here. I live with my mother and my little sister. I study in St Chad’s Sanctuary. I came to the UK in November 2013. I am very happy in this country
My country is Angola. Angolan culture is very good. I miss everything in Angola, dance music and beaches. Angola is a very beautiful country. We have many mining resources diamonds petrol and coal. The Angolan people is humble and happy people. The food is very, very good.
My first in UK I went to France by plane. After two months I tried to get to the boat but it was not better. I was arrested for 7 hours to locate my mother because I came without her knowing. It was even desperate but now everything is fine.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

In their own words

Today is World Refugee Day and, in the UK, the end of Refugee Week. These dates are partly about drawing attention to an issue that, with the world in its current state is not going to go away, and to do so positive and try to challenge some of the pervasive media myths.

Above all though, they are an opportunity to celebrate: to celebrate the contributions refugees and the forcibly displaced make to their host communities; to celebrate the people they are, the gifts they bring, the joy and hope they somehow mange to cling on to.

Those of you who have been following this blog will know that over the last two years, St Chad's Sanctuary has been a place I have grown to love and value; above all because of the amazing students I teach. Students who are so much more than just statistics. Students whose stories deserve to be heard.

I feel hugely privileged that they have been willing to share parts of their stories with me. It feels almost like a duty to make sure others hear them too. Here then (anonymised), are some of their words:

I come from Eritrea. I was born in Eritrea in 1993 and I grow up in Eritrea. My family are still in Eritrea, I have 2 sisters and 5 brothers. In March 2015 I am coming to the UK. At this time I live in Birmingham.
I can speak about Eritrea. Eritrea is found in the East of Africa. Its not very big, It is a small country and also it is a beautiful country, to me. Still now and for ever, I love it because its my country. But in Eritrea the government is not good, it’s a dictatorship and that’s why I’m here.
I started my journey from my village and it took nine months. First I was going to Ethiopia after that I went to Sudan. In Sudan I lived for five months in Khartoum. After that in December 2014 I went to Libya.  In Libya I was kept for 50 days. After that I came by the Mediterranean to Europe.
When I came to the UK my English was little and I couldn't understand what the people say But at this time I can speak a little. That means that when I start to come to the Sanctuary I start to communicate with people. 

I am 20 years old. I have been four months in the UK. I’m married. I don’t have any children. And I have 4 sisters and 3 brothers. I really love this country.
I was born in Sudan in Darfur but I lived all my life in Khartoum. We have different cultures in Sudan and many languages. Also I speak 2 languages,  my mother language and Arabic. My mother language is called Ful. I want to talk about the government in my country. The government is very, very bad. If you are not working or you do not have money you cannot get any medicines if you get ill. In my country the land for agriculture is available.
I did not find any difficulty to come in UK. I come from my country by land but I am very, very sad because my husband could not find rest. He was working all the year to bring me here. He stays in Sudan. When I came to the UK I didn’t know anyone and also I did not understand anything when the people are talking. I come in winter. The weather was very cold. I am very sad because I miss my family and my friends.

More to follow...

Saturday, 13 June 2015

In the beginning was the word ...

And then there were the pictures.

The pictures below are not a recent piece of work. So much so that they predate me entering the world of the blog (although I think they may have been on facebook at the time, so if they look familiar, that could be why).

With one (or occasionally two) pictures for each chapter of John's Gospel, the project was the fruit of many hours of reflection, and also marked the beginning of my rediscovery of an enjoyment of art. While I now know (and would have done at the time if I had stopped to think about it) that they'd have wrinkled less if I'd used proper painting paper instead of cheap printer paper, overall I remain quite pleased with how they turned out and some of what they attempt to communicate.

I recently got them out again to display in the poster frames on the staircase at church, and decided it would be appropriate to share them here too. Enjoy.