Earlier in the year, four MacRob Interacters were accompanied by Sabina to go to MITA (Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation). This visit was arranged to give us an insight into the lives that refugees and asylum seekers were leading. Here is how we felt when we visitedthe centre:
Personally, I found the visit to be an important source of inspiration to combat the hopelessness you sometimes feel hearing about cases like the ones we were exposed to during the visit. It made me feel that as one person, I still had influence over what happened to these detainees. I feel a heightened sense of urgency to make people (politicians, or anyone with greater power) listen to what those asking for help have to contribute.
What struck me most about the men was how open they had become with us and each other as they readily trusted those around them for offering the tiniest bit of help. I kept thinking about how well these men would fit into Australia’s community, which they called “the outside”. It made me incredibly sad to hear that they no longer wondered what their lives would be like on the other side of the fence because they have been kept waiting and wondering for so long.
I would be glad to continue sending girls to speak to them about their experiences because from the warmth with which they shook our hands and thanked us for making our way over, I know that Interact could build a great relationship with MITA.
The experience at MITA was memorable, and although it was saddening, it also shows how happy people still can be a the toughest of times. The men we met all had pasts, all have had experiences we could never imagine, but they still manage to wake up each day and live their lives. Lives which are not that exciting at this moment, life in a restrictive, monitored environment, but lives nonetheless. One of the things i learnt from MITA is that there is always a need to try. Because the men we met are all going through hard times, but they try to overcome their sorrow, as we all should.
As much as I would want to help them in their situation, the power we have is limited, and this saddens me. The pain so many families and individuals go through is something we all can assist in stopping, but really, our power is finite, and I now want to do all I can to help, even if it does mean making the smallest of differences.
I didn’t know what to expect from our visit at first. When we arrived, I found the sight of the 3m fence to be quite an obvious divide between the asylum seekers and the community they’re fighting to be accepted in. At the beginning of the visit, I was quite afraid of saying the wrong thing. I wanted to imagine myself there, but I just couldn’t picture how someone my age would be able to deal with this kind of situation.
As I listened, I opened my mind to the images described and though I felt very out of place, I also felt extremely lucky to have been born into a very different home. I learnt of their many struggles and how, even though there were days when they weren’t able to see any hope to their lives, they would keep on going. I realised how special a visit to MITA is for high-school students to see the impact we may have in the future. This visit has inspired me to take action and bring about change.