Laughter, smiles and stories – two perspectives of the cultural exchange

by Guy Power

My perspective on the Cultural Exchange weekend is that it was a very positive experience for all involved. It gave
participants, both visitors and locals, an opportunity to be at their best, and from what I saw, they all took it.
I did not host any of the women who came up to the mountains from western Sydney, and I didn’t go to everything
(I attended 5 of the 7 main events scheduled), but my observations, interactions and experiences lead me to make
only one comment – wow, what a marvellous thing!

In no particular order, this is what I saw.
Groups of people sharing laughter, smiles and stories with tremendous goodwill towards each other. Whether on a
boat, at a dining table, in a garden, or a welcoming ceremony. Some were shyer than others, some more outgoing.
I learnt a lot about the Cambodian communities in Sydney, the Tibetan community in the Blue Mountains, and the
Zimbabwean community in Campbelltown.

I saw, again, how important sharing food is. As always, it breaks down barriers of reticence and hesitation, and
allows people to show pride in their culture, as well as their personal capabilities.

I saw, a little surprisingly, that a love of gardening and plants is another great “ice-breaker” Many of the visitors
were highly impressed by Kathie’s garden, both the flower and the herbs/veggies parts of it. They seemed to take
many cuttings with them. From little things ………

I saw a few people outside their comfort zone at times. New places, new people, new situations, the heat, steps
and pathways, getting on and off a boat. But always plenty of others around with cheerful help and goodwill. I’m
sure many of the visitors would have gained confidence from being in new situations.
All in all, a marvellous thing.

 

by Eunice Goodberg

The Cultural Exchange held last weekend was a complete success.
I hosted a lovely lady from Egypt.We got on very well with lots of laughter. I had been worried about my dog as she barks and doesn’t get on with strangers. She loved my guest which was such a relief for me.

On Friday we were Welcomed to Country by Auntie Carol and visited The Gully.  On Saturday we visited Everglades for scones with tea or coffee and then on to a scrumptious lunch at Kathie’s. Saturday afternoon involved our guests cooking a dish for our evening get together.

I helped Maha a little by joining her in preparing stuffed vine leaves from my grape vine. It was wonderful to see and taste the different dishes that the women cooked for our feast. A real smorgasbord.
The evening continued after dinner with cultural dancing. Much fun had by all.

A wonderful weekend.

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