Australia is seen as one of the very few peaceful countries. It is isolated from world's chaos, boasts multi-cultural living and provides a rich standard-of-living.
The gradual increase in the flow of immigrants supports that fact. Today, I met an Ethiopian taxi driver while traveling to home. I usually start the conversation with a brief question on weather (Is it going to be hot for the next few days) or just asking about them (How was your day or How are you doing). Today, I saw this brown-skinned man (happy, because me too!) and asked him if he is from Srilanka. He said, 'No, I am from Ethiopia. Most of the people mistake me seeing my colour'. He said his name is Alam.
A song was playing in the music player. I asked what kind of music it is. He told it is a music album released by an Indian-born Ethiopian musician. The music was very lively and would make you tap your dance feet.
So, the conversation continued like this...
How long have you been here in Australia?
Just 6 months. We arrived here in last September (2006). I have a family with two kids and my wife. We are settling in here still.
What were you doing in Ethiopia?
I was an accountant.
I heard that the life in Ethiopia is not so peaceful. How do you find the life in Australia compared to your country?
Very peaceful. I am happy because, my family is safer here and they can walk on the streets without any bothering from anyone. I used to work as an Accountant in my country. The rule of gun is the law, there. If 'they' (higher officials in government), tell you to sign a document - you must sign it. If not, you are gone next minute (points a finger gun at my head).
Are you happy that ''you are here''?
Actually, I am sad because I miss my relatives and friends. But, I am happy here because; I can do what I want. I have to be truthful to myself and the society here. But, nothing wring can happen here. My family will be safer and prosperous here. My kids will get used to a good system government, culture and discipline.
Will you go back if your country becomes peaceful?
Surely, yes. I came here, not because of money - but for safety. I will feel happy in my own land. Nothing can replace it.
Do you believe Ethiopia will become a peaceful country?
Yea, definitely. It may take few years - can't say exactly when. But, I believe, peace will return to Ethiopia - a truely, democratic rule will come soon. At the time, I will go back with my family to join my relatives and friends. That (the day of return) will be the happiest day of my life.
How do your family getting adjusted to this new life?
They are good. Children like their schools because they are allowed to play a lot. We are still making new friends, community places - markets, shops, restaurants (Ethiopian related). It will take few more months - but, we are good. We are getting used to the Australian way of life - not forgetting our own values.
I wished him a good luck and he dropped me at my home and went. I wonder when peace will return such African nations. If each country says, all such civil wars are part of their internal affairs - who else would stop those. George Bush is interested in 'restoring peace' in Iraq and Arab nations, only because they have Oil. Who will care for these resource-poor nations in the Dark Continent?
Sigh...by the way; have you ever tried Ethiopian cuisine? Try it
126 Henley Beach Rd,
Ph 8443 4300
I have had dinner at this restaurant, few months ago and I would recommend it to you. It will be hot and spicy. (:-p)