Lunching beneath an olive tree, enjoying a range of exotic dishes as dappled light splashed into an idyllic rose-filled courtyard… this was the blissful setting of last Friday’s multi-cultural get together at Neighbourhood Central in Parkes. Around 30 people gathered to share a meal for the bi-monthly Meet and Greet, a group that supports the newest arrivals to Parkes, Forbes and Condoblin. Anni Gallagher from Orange Migrant Support facilitates the group.
The Migrants Meet and Greet group provides an opportunity for people to meet other new residents in a fun and supported environment. The group typically plans their own entertainment, voting to determine the most popular suggestions. Previous activities have included silk batik painting, origami craft, or going on outings together.
Last Friday’s theme was the great Parkes/Condo Cook Off. It was a wonderful handson experience, with members sharing a few favourite recipes from home. Fareeda Baig taught the group how to make Hara Masala Boti and Muthi Kebabs, while Rohini Dwyer shared the recipe for a Fiji India Masala Curry. Many brought a plate of food, so
there was plenty to enjoy.
The group has been meeting for ten years, and some of the members have been attending for the whole time, but there is always room for new faces. Yan Bo Borm, from China, was a first time attendee on Friday, and although she had limited English, an interpreter service made conversation possible. Friday was Desiree Alba’s second time attending the group. She brought her two youngest children along for the lunch. Desiree recently relocated to Parkes from Western Australia with her husband, but is originally from the Philippines. Desiree enjoyed the social element of the group. “It’s good to meet different people,” she said. “The best thing about it is everyone is welcome.”
By Raen Fraser