Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Another trip to Pukepoto and another bootful of stuff has been relocated to my current abode. This time I collected one of the small bookcases and contents, and the assortment of boxes and bundles stashed in the bottom of my old wardrobe. The bookcase is now at the EcoCentre full of pre-loved books for sale, including a shelf's worth of those that had been living on it for the last few years! The remaining books have been squeezed on to the bookshelves in my room, their precariously balanced state in some cases being a good incentive to crack on with the process of replacing my photograph albums with much slimmer photobooks. Hopefully the next trip will collect my American cabinet and blanket box, but that requires the right combination of people, trailer, fine weather and time coinciding. But hey, it's taken 4.5yrs so far, what's a few more weeks?!

The feeling of satisfaction I'm getting from this process of downsizing and amalgamation is reassuring me that I'm on the right track. A few weeks ago I was overcome with a feeling of helplessness in the face of the refugee crisis and the intransigence of our politicians who just don't seem to get the idea of helping others simply because they are human too and in need. Sure, clearing out some drawers and figuring out a pile more stuff to re-home won't make any difference to those being washed up on the shores of Greece and Italy, but it gave me something to do that felt constructive, that was part of changing my own lifestyle. The motto 'live simply so others can simply live' kept going round in my head, although the only direct link between my clutter clearing and improving the lives of others I could come up with was the result of me donating stuff to the Salvation Army.

Working through all my possessions has been a very physical reminder of the fact that I am a migrant. I shifted myself, my life and my stuff from one side of the world to the opposite. I chose to do this. I have paid more than I want to contemplate to the Departments of Immigration, and Internal Affairs over the last 10yrs in order that I might remain in my new home country, but it was all above board, by the book, official. I have the stamps in my passports and pieces of paper to prove I can be here. As I now have the letter saying my citizenship application has been accepted and am now awaiting a date for the ceremony, I'll soon be entitled to have a Kiwi passport in addition to my British one.

How different is my situation to those of the dispossessed, displaced refugees and asylum seekers who are desperately trying to get into Europe, and into Lebanon, away from the horrors of war and destruction. And yet the mainstream media has been using the same word, migrant, to describe them as is befitting to describe me. How can anyone think that our situations are even remotely the same? It angers me to see their true plight being sanitized into language that can be used to manipulate people into thinking there is an element of choice in what these people have done, and even worse implying that many are doing it to 'take advantage' of the destination countries and scrounge their benefits. I've been on the dole in the UK before now, and believe you me it certainly isn't worth risking life and limb crossing the Mediterranean in an overcrowded boat, then walking hundreds of miles, crawling through razor wire fences, or getting shut in a Chunnel bound lorry where you may suffocate, or hanging on to the top of a train for.

I've not seen much news over the last couple of weeks whilst I was away, so have relied on snatches of info picked up online, and now I'm back I find that, as it was before I left, the bulk of our news is about the Rugby World Cup. I am grateful to have such a great bunch of friends around the world who have kept heart-wrenching stories like this circulating around social media, reminding us of the far bigger issues out there. References to this poem by Warsan Shire popped up in my feed again, and again, and again.

I truly hope enough Help is Coming....

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