Tuesday, May 10, 2005

ERIC'S STORY

Eric Roberts came to Australia as a refugee from Liberia, shattered and devastated as a result of the civil war in his beloved country. Now, he believes, he has found a semblance of normality and peace of mind in Australia.

“This is a great country”, Eric says, flashing his beautiful set of white teeth. “There is a feeling of security and a high standard of living here”.

Eric and his family have recently moved into a four-bedroom house in the suburban Adelaide, South Australia. And the family couldn’t have been happier. But the battle for survival continues, unabated.

In reality, Eric is still a long way from home, so to speak; but his journey from the brink is a story of courage and determination to succeed.

He has witnessed the trauma of war, hunger, and suffering in the desolate streets of Liberia in West Africa; and live to tell the tale.

“Life was difficult in Liberia in those days, just before I decided to leave”, he says. “All that fighting and killing and not a moment of peace…and no future; the situation was getting out of hand”. But things are changing!

Now, having made his home in South Australia, the real challenge is to survive the peace.

“I’ve pushed myself to the limit; trying to acquire new skills and get a good job; but it’s more difficult than I first thought”, he says. “I need a job, badly, so that I can help others …that’s the African way”.

Indeed, the resettlement process can be a difficult undertaking in the eyes of most refugees; even in the best of times. But it can also be a giant struggle for those who don’t know how to cope with the changes in their new environment. An emotional journey!

Eric, of all people, is torn between two worlds – the African world and Australia. And Africa still looms larger than life in his memory. But, like the overwhelming majority of Africans in the land Down Under, he really wants to survive, work hard, and enjoy the best of what Australia has to offer.

Undoubtedly, Eric has the drive, the X-factor, and the will to succeed!
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