Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Holiday Poem

On the
Wings of the angels, this
Christmas morn
Rapt in the festive spirit
Of giving and sharing

A little Yuletide
Among the forgotten souls…
Sow the seeds of joy

She looked
Into the eyes of hope
In the dawn
Of time…dreaming of a
Happy holiday in Eden

Behold the
Magnificent beauty of the
Christmas moon…
The landscape transformed
As the angels spread their wings

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, December 22, 2006

Waiting for Santa Claus

Tired of
Waiting for Santa Claus
I ventured into the
Deepest corners of my being and
Discovered the real treasure within

The spirit of
Christmas cheer, it’s time to
Play Santa
To the poor and helpless…
The dying children of Darfur

A Christmas stocking
Full of goodies for the
Precious one…
The baby-faced angel
Next door

The Ethiopians in
Festive mood; pampering the
Christmas tree…
Sound of laughter in the house
Joyful lips!

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas in Diaspora

Thinking of the
Poor souls in Diaspora
This festive morn…
A wobbly beginning of
The golden era

New age migrants
And the spirit of Christmas
The joy and laughter…
Dining with devotion

Ah, the Nigerian
Chick in the footsteps of
Santa Claus
Singing the joyful songs, like
An angel in the morning

The Nubians and the
Desperate search for meaning…
In the African Diaspora
The sound of silver bell

The Acholi
Matriarch in the ‘hood
Cooking up a storm…
The magical food
Of love divine

Like a bird
Without wings, she sings a
Lovely song; dreaming
Of the Christmas cheer
With one eye open

Behold the Zulu
Princess in her element
Turning on the light ...
In the true spirit of the
Antipodean Christmas

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Delights

The rebirth
Of a nation’s migrant soul
In the
Nick of time; catching
The festive cheer

You came
Into my life, like the
Guardian angel
In hot pants; bearing...
Christmas gifts from the heart

She dances
To the sound of a different
Drum; unleashing
The free spirit within…
Frisky moon

‘Tis the season
Of fun, laughter and
In the field of dreams
Let’s feed the hungry child

She discovered
The mesmerizing rhythm of
Retail therapy
Nurturing the Christmas spirit
Drunk with the elixir of life

The naked poet found
A new lease on life, one
Day, sweet triumph
Of the humble soul

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Law Scholarship for Community Workers

The Legal Services Commission of South Australia, under the auspices of the Adelaide Institute of TAFE, is now accepting enrolments for the Law for Community Workers course.

The good news is that Liz Ahern of the legal Services Commission has succeeded in obtaining funding for 10 scholarships for people from the new and emerging communities to do the course which starts early next year.

The course has a very practical focus on legal principles and processes relating to conflict resolution in a community setting. It is, primarily, aimed at community workers or staff in agencies involved in direct client contact.

For more information about the scholarship, please contact Liz Ahern on 8463 3570 or Email

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Poem

It’s all smiles
In the refugee street, this
Christmas morn
A neophyte dressed
As Santa Claus

She walked into
Eden with Christmas
Gifts from the gods
Sharing the joy with the poor
And the homeless

With angelic
Voice and limpid eyes
She sang
The Christmas carols
From the heart…

Cool cats
In a feeding frenzy
Devouring the
Mystical fruit…in full
View of the Christmas moon

Surprise gift
In my Christmas stocking
A dazzling
Songbird of the realm…
Why am I so blessed?

The beloved daughter
Of Eve in her Christmas best
The first noel…
Under the mistletoe

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Lost Boy

The lost boy
Jumped for joy at the
Dawn of spring
Watching the glorious beam of light
His sorrows largely forgotten

Like the wandering
Moon, he now makes his
Bid for survival
With the radical molecules of
Ambition flowing through his veins

One day, he
Followed his dream to the city
Searching for fame
And fortune but lost his way…
In the soulless heart of time

Yet, his
Fighting spirit remains
In the face of adversity…
His dream largely unchanged

And, now, his infectious
Smile continues to open the windows
Of opportunity
Dismantling the barriers unseen
And melting the hearts of stone

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Island of Flowers

On the island of flowers
This day of spring
Frisky butterflies on heat
Sumptuous wings

Free spirits
In tender moments
Of absolute bliss
Bonding in secret places of
Beauty and mystery

Of the smitten Jacaranda
In bloom …
Sensitive tongues locked in silence
Amorous red lips full of joy

Carry me
On your golden wings across
The Milky Way
Oh sweet butterfly; vaulting
The great cosmic divide

The majestic
Beauty of African violets
Nourishes the soul
Breathing a brand new life
Into the antipodean garden

Beautiful is the land
And the glorious flowers that
Time forgot…
The simple pleasures
Of life foretold

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Dreamtime Adventures

Her beautiful
Mind explores the dreamtime
Of the lost boy in need
This restless year

By the ravishing landscape
The tanka poet
Wrestles with the truth
Behind the metaphor

The city lights, an
Enduring image
Of a restless soul caught
In the vortex of time

Of tears in the school of
Hard knocks…
But where’s the
Promised Land?

She walks
Boldly along the winding
Like an angel of the light
Nurturing the budding star

The secret places of
The heart…
Where the rainbow lorikeet sings,
The fragrant roses abound

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Job Opportunity

One of Australia’s biggest meat processors, T & R Pastoral, is seeking to entice the skilled and the unskilled workers to its abattoirs at Murray Bridge and Lobethal in South Australia.

The company is working closely with the Australian Refugee Association to employ refugees from the Sudan, Somalia, and Uzbekistan, according to The Australian newspaper report.

The company will pay employees’ relocation costs and provide subsidised rents and furnished accommodation to the new recruits.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Songs of the Matriarch

Once was a matriarch
Who had a
Dream to nurture the
Darling buds of spring

Melodious songs
The heart and soul of
The lost boy on edge

Rekindles the forbidden
With precious gifts
From the heart

The neophyte
Gets a big dose of
Searching for the crumbs
From the master’s table

The lovely matriarch of Oz
The fallen stars under the
Cloudless blue sky

Won the hearts
Of many
With soulful songs
Of hope

The sun shines
On the golden buds…
Rose petals for the
Matriarch of hearts

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The New Dawn

The new dawn…
A bright
Rising star
In the horizon

Future begins now
Think big…
Let your creative juices flow
And reach for the stars

A proud
Soul in exile
The pinch of transition
In this unpredictable life

Of the Nubian dude
On stage
Taking the citadel
Of learning by storm

In their steps in the island
Of dreams
The restless Nubians at work
Turning the wheels of fortune

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Flight into Utopia

The turbulent
Flight into utopia as the
Heavens open
And powerful forces
Swirl in the mist

She turns
Her moment of sadness
Into great joy
Under the watchful eyes of
The glowing crescent moon

Time in the city of
The soulful rhythm
Of love and lust divine

The boundaries of reason
The Nubian starts
His long march of life under
The gentle light of dawn

At the edge
Of utopia, he makes his
Next move
Still holding onto the memory
Of his first love

On my lips in
A calm delight in this
City of the longest kiss

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Power of Laughter

Behold the power
Of laughter, nature’s
Shock absorber

The sound
Of laughter in my
This beautiful day
Of spring

Years of Laughter
Sharing the love and joy…
The elixir of life

Nightmare to dream…
Who is having the
Last laugh now?

Laughter beckons
As Providence guides
Your every move

Laughing Kookaburra,
This beautiful bird, with
Wings of light
Wired to patrol the
Milky Way

Give me all the
Humour and laughter, the
Tonic of the soul divine

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Art of Survival

The shifting
Cultural paradigm and the
Art of survival
Unleashing the hidden talents and
Creativity in the nick of time

Under a different sun
I find
A home, away from home and
Spring flowers at their best

Held my hand ever so
As she drank from the
Fountain of youth

The lost boy
Breathes new life into
The ‘hood
Dancing to the sound of
A different drum

Of the turning tide
How exciting
The changing times
Can be?

Harvest with a view
But where’s
The funky soul food for
The poor and the homeless?

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, October 15, 2006

New Talents

Talents on the rise as
Lady luck
Smiles on the Nubians
Improving their life chances

The seductive
Spring gives up its
The sound of hot lips
Kissing in the distance

Leaps into the future
Like an angel
On a mission to help
The lost boy

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Campbelltown Welcomes the Refugees

Today is a very special day in Campbelltown. And the African community is delighted.

The Campbelltown City Council in South Australia has organised a “Welcome Day” for the new arrivals, as part of the state’s Refugee Week celebrations.

There will be food and drinks, translators, crèche, prayer rooms and a chance to meet the Mayor of the city.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Yellow Moon

The yellow moon,
In my visual field;
Some light upon
The forgotten souls

Nigerian dancer,
This neophyte with attitude,
Turns on the charm
Doing the moon walk
For survival

The glorious
Days of antipodean spring
Bring back
Memories of the home
I left behind

Moonlight in Eden
Unbridled passion
And reasons to grin

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Love Smack

The traditional method of discipline is alive and well in Australia, if public opinion is to be believed. And "Love smack" is on the increase. In fact, 80% of Australian mums smack their children, according to the opinion poll.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

After the Fall of Limbo

Fulfilled after the
Fall of limbo
The souls of the
Just reprieved

Of heavenly peace
As the demise
Of the uncertain state
Gives rise to a new reality

Scenes in heaven
As yarns
Are spun and
History begins

The angel
Kissed my lips
The fall of the limbo

Fish out of water
She left
Limbo with tears
In her eyes

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Spring Song

Breathes new life into the
Tiny aphids
The insatiable lovers
Of the rose buds

Effusion of colours
In a lonely paddock, a
Of tasty buds of spring
Plucked from the heavens

Rose aphids
On the rampage, this swollen
Egg-like sacks
Passionately sucking
The juice divine

Rose of Findon found
Her way
Into the heart of aphid
One perfect day

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Coming of the Nubians

They came
In dribs and drabs
Like angels
Of the Light
Speaking to all of us

The Nubian found
Himself in the line of fire
Australian values, under the
Watchful eyes of Big Brother

Now, he talks candidly
About the challenges of
In the new environment; his
Thought as deep as Truth

One summer’s day
He drained the dreamtime
Where the vandals used to breed;
Revitalising the land

Great was
The sense of awe and
Of seeing the beauty of
Nature reborn

He walks
Like a lion, this
Gentle soul
Singing the songs
Of freedom

The blue sky and the
Vanishing clouds
As life begins anew in
The paradise foretold

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tanka Delights

They read
Haiku in the evening
And eat
My tanka poems
For breakfast

Is a foreign country
Largely unknown
To the poor
And the homeless

The potent tonic of
Love divine;
Healing the wounds
Of time

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Thursday, September 21, 2006

On Experience

Experience is the
Bird you failed to catch
But don’t despair
The goal is nearer
Than you think

The ladder of opportunity
With tender foot
His clumsy hands
Hanging by a thread

Wake up
The dream is still alive
Whispered the spring
There’s a brighter future
In the making

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Monday, September 18, 2006

Nubian Life Blossoms

Nubian life
Blossoms as the energetic
Young guns
Embrace new values with
Boundless enthusiasm

The lost boy
In his element
A giant kangaroo
In the field of dreams

They flee
From Africa’s long wars and
A haven among the gum trees
Chasing the Australian dream

Ah, the Nubian
Scholars in hot pants;
To education (and training)
Like ducks to water

A child of two worlds
The future with gusto; building
Bridges over the racial divide

With unique
Talents and perspectives they
Antipodean cities like the
Cosmic messengers of peace

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Inner Beauty

The waxing moon
Reveals her inner beauty, this
Sentient being
Glowing with love
And affection

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Angels in Campbelltown

In Campbelltown; happily
Turning on the lights
And rolling out the red carpet
For the brave newcomers

Behold the image
Of the guardian angel
The hungry child
And wiping away her tears

In Campbelltown;
The angels
Are at it again
Reinventing the future

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lonely Hearts

Lonely hearts
At the dawn of spring
The depths of emotional universe
And comforted by the gentle moon

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Spring Sunshine

In the spring
Sunshine, the curious cat
Of the hapless butterflies
On the brink of extinction

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Great Survivor

He still holds
His head high, this
Great survivor
In the Cauldron
Of unfair life

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, September 08, 2006

Honey Birds

Honey birds
In my spring garden
The sweet nectar of flowers
Like a thief in the night

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Liberians

The Liberians
Arrived with stars in their eyes
In the glory of
Antipodean spring

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Educating the Refugees

The Australian government plans to build vocational education colleges in the refugee camps in Africa to teach English and work skills, according to The Australian newspaper report.

The principal aim of the project is to educate and train the new arrivals for the Australian labour market.

Thus, under the proposal put forward by the Vocational Training Minister, Gary Hardgrave, training in the camps would give the refugees a greater sense of dignity, coupled with the relevant skills to earn a living when they arrive in Australia.

The real intention, however, is to equip the new arrivals with language and work skills to facilitate integration into the Australian community and help ease the nation’s skills shortage.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Dawn of Spring

The dawn of spring
And the scent of daffodil
My heart leaps for joy
As the hidden beauty
Of nature unfolds

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Nubian Rose

The Nubian
Rose bursts into full bloom
As we look
For new ways of
Thinking and being

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Fall of Pluto

The fall
Of Pluto has an upside
The meteoric rise
Of a new planet
In the galaxy

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Pluto on Heat

Pluto on heat
The defining moment
In cosmic rivalry
Eventually leading to the fall
Of the legendary planet

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, August 25, 2006

After the Longest Day

After the longest day
In the school of hard knocks
They read poetry
Sleep with one eye open
And think of Africa

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Restless Youth

The restless
Youth hopped on a jet
Of the Golden Fleece
Under the waxing moon

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sudan Needs Help

Australia should increase its military commitment and aid to Sudan to help avert the collapse of the UN Mission in the war-torn country, according to the recent report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tanka Sensibility

A cheeky grin
After a hard day’s work
I wear a new face
It’s the dawn of spring in eden
And things are looking brighter

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Gentle Farmers

Farmers to the rescue
Saving the orange-bellied parrots
In the Never Never Land
Where the birds and the bees meet
To protect other species from extinction

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Journey

On a long journey
To the Land Down Under
I saw the megastars
Riding the waves of boom
Into the Milky Way

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

In My Father's House

In my father’s
House, the beautiful songbird sings
The dreamtime melody
And the soulful rhythm brings
Tears of joy to my eyes

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Mean Streets of Prospect

In the mean streets of Prospect, where
The unfortunate ones either sink or swim,
So to speak, a dejected young mother sat
On one side of the run-down house
Nursing her wounded child, a moving
Image of a woman in her prime of life;
Doing the daily battle for survival!

Fearing that her beloved child,
An innocent victim of a sickening,
Unprovoked, racially motivated attack
Could die from the brutal wounds, she
Discovered her inner strength. And her
Nurturing and creative self emerged.
A bright spark in the critical moment
Of existential crisis!

Now, her eyes have seen the light!
And the divine presence of Bes, the Nubian god
Of protection, in all his glory. Bes has taken
Over the proceedings: offering spiritual guidance,
Singing the dreamtime lullaby, blessing the
Daisies in the field, nurturing and caring
For the wounded child, maintaining order in the ‘hood,
And calling on the evildoers to account for their sins
In the mean streets of Prospect.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Community in Shock

The new and emerging African community in South Australia is in shock, following the brutal attack of a Sudanese refugee, Giir Thiik, aged 14, who was chased by a gang, hit by a car and then bashed, according to The Sunday Mail report.

Giir was in a coma for three days!

His case is not an isolated incident. It is one in a series of racially motivated attacks across the northern suburbs of Adelaide.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Rise of the Nubian Princess

The Nubian Princess
In C minor; singing the songs
Of freedom foretold.

Chants of the dreaming
Her mesmerizing, sensual, voice
Invokes great passion.

Even the angels must be
Listening as perfect harmony flows
From her lips.

Ah, the creative impulse:
When she sings, everything comes to life
The antipodean garden blooms!

And the white light
From a new galaxy shines on her,
Ever so brightly!

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Children's Choir

The beautiful African voices could be heard loud and clear, as an exciting new era dawns. The Woodville High School and Adelaide Secondary School of English, in South Australia, have joined forces to form a new children’s choir known as Uhuru Voices ("Uhuru" means "Freedom" in Swahili).

The choir is made up of the recently-arrived teenage refugees from the Sudan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia.

The Woodville High School is also planning a trip to Tanzania in 2009.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Data Deluge

When the silicon gods
Were not watching, I sneaked
Out of the technological vortex
To enjoy some quality time alone
In the faraway realms.

In a passionate embrace
Of a different sun, I threw caution
To the wind, ate my ipod and blackberry,
And escaped the data deluge. A great
Liberation from the tedium of connectivity!

© Lawrence Udo-Ekpo

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Simple Pleasure

I watch the hummingbird;
Thinking of the simple pleasure
In small things.

Ah, the pretty beads
And ochre! What joy you’ve given
To so many?

Absolute delight
The colourful butterfly in motion
Tickling the wild rose.

The secret joy
Of getting mail from the letter box.
A beautiful summer’s day!

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Visitor Arrivals

The seasonally adjusted estimate for short-term visitor arrivals in Australia for June 2006 (460,100 movements) increased by 3.2% compared with May 2006 (445,900 movements), according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This includes visitors from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Raindrops in Findon,
The Nubian goddess of water
In a yellow raincoat.

The ageless star makes
A quantum leap to the winter paradise;
Kissing the water molecules

Raindrops on my roof,
A dose of humour and laughter
In the house.

The winter code
The quest for love in the raindrops
Reaches its peak.

The magic of raindrops:
Happiness, creativity, and gold grains
In my garden.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Crisis in the Otash Camp

There is humanitarian crisis in the Otash camp which lies just outside Nyala, the capital of Southern Darfur. This is a crisis we can’t ignore, according to the opposition foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, who has just returned to Australia after four days in Sudan at the invitation of World Vision.

The Otash camp provides food, primitive shelter and basic sanitary facilities for 40,000 people who fled there after their villages were looted and burned by Arab militia – the Janjaweed.

Mr. Rudd thinks the Australian government should act. In fact, he believes, all people of goodwill have a responsibility to act now on the crisis in Darfur – a crisis the World Vision described as like watching Rwanda in slow motion.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Winter Rain

Wonderful is the sound
Of the winter rain
In my playground
The birds are singing again!

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Nubian Adventure

the Nubian adventure
living with the stars after the turbulent
moments of creation

earth-like worlds in motion
orbiting the giant stars trillion of miles away
the rhythm of love foretold!

the solar systems...
dim lights from the baby planets
but where’s the parent star?

love birds in space
i watch as hot heavenly bodies emerge
from the cosmic shade

the Nubian child in the
timeless vortex of the Milky Way
making a splash!

the kangaroo
in my spaceship; feeding
the fallen star.

from darkness to light
bright stars in my visual field
face to face with ambition!

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Monday, July 10, 2006

Family Law Information Seminar

The Family Law Information Seminar provides valuable information on the Australian family law and court procedures.

This is a free service provided by the Legal Services Commission of South Australia and Adelaide South Institute, Light Square Campus.

One of the Legal Services Commission Family Law solicitors will cover the Family Law Act and other relevant information for community workers and members of the public.

People in the new and emerging communities are strongly urged to attend. And African-Australians have taken up the challenge.

For bookings and course information, visit

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Diary of the Lost Boy

Gateway to heaven!
Chasing the wind and fraternising
With cool stars.

Sleep with one eye open!
There’s something fishy
On the way to Triton.

The lost boy
Captures the Neptune moons
Battling the red dwarfs.

Strangely uplifting
First mission of self-discovery
But, where’s the dough?

The Venusian dream
Challenging life in earth’s sister planet.
What a magnificent view?

Days of hope
As the Nubian goddess of love
Comes to the rescue.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Promoting Language Learning

The Modern Languages Teachers Association of Victoria (MLTAV) has developed new resources for teaching and learning of Languages Other Than English, in Australian schools.

For more information on promoting language learning, visit MLTAV website:

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Space Adventure

The endless space
Discovery in the distant galaxies
Kissing the luscious stars.

The space adventure
Really begins at home. Go build
Your spacecraft!

The starlight
In my space capsule, a night
Of endless passion.

The green grass
In the waxing Martian moon
Aliens on heat!

Holiday in space:
Romancing the moons of Jupiter
With gusto.

The ghost of spatial past
The meteorites can’t keep pace
With my spaceship.

Hunger in space
The primordial soup
In crisis.

Balanced life
Just got easier in deep space
Angels on my shoulder.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Inner Glow

I woke up
With a warm inner glow; feeling
Your divine presence.

Then, the joyful moment
As the gentle spirit descended
Upon my soul.

Immersed in faultless brilliance
I became one with the light;
And the light became
An integral part of my being.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Tree of Knowledge

The tree of knowledge
Marks the historic birthplace
Of the giants.

Behold the vanishing icon
Vague signs of life in winter’s garden
Swirling mists!

The sacred tree:
The pulling power of persistent image
Replenish the land Down Under

The tree of knowledge
In times of crisis and uncertainty!
But who sprayed the herbicides?

The dreamtime vandals
Desecrated the tree of knowledge;
Sparking the brain drain.

Tree of knowledge at Barcaldine
A potent symbol of love and hope
In a changing world.

Now, put on your
Thinking hat and help nurture
The tree of knowledge.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Soup Kitchen and the Sharing Spirit

The phenomenon of soup kitchen is an innovative response to the problem of poverty and homelessness, in the Australian society today.

Clearly, things are not going well with those in need of immediate care, food, and shelter. In fact, the talk in the street is that there is a great deal of distress among the poor and the homeless, as the dreamtime winter shows its ugly face.

Consequently, soup kitchens are springing up in several locations to meet the needs of the disadvantage.

For example, the Adelaide Day Care Centre for the Homeless Persons operates mobile soup kitchens, 7 days per week, during the winter months. The organisation has become an extremely valuable resource for those in need, an embodiment of the humanitarian spirit at its best.

Elsewhere, under its Angel for a Day program, the Hutt Street Centre soup kitchen establishment provides breakfast, lunch, and morning and afternoon teas for over 200 homeless people in Adelaide City alone, according to The Advertiser newspaper report. But there is a growing demand for such services throughout the state.

Nor can we forget the significance of corporate response to the problem. At the time of writing, businesses (big and small) are playing their part; helping the homeless; and providing the resources for soup kitchens as the need arises.

A notable example is the humanitarian effort of the energy retailer, AGL, which has more than 30 soup kitchens nationally. Its work in this area has significantly helped to bring warmth and comfort to the poor.

The AGL works in partnership with Mission Australia to provide services to the disadvantaged groups in New South Wales and South Australia.

Thus, the soup kitchen, as an innovative response to poverty in Australian society, has attracted a significant support from businesses, families, schools, social groups, churches, and individuals throughout the land.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Winter without a Blanket

The winter without a blanket
For the homeless soul forsaken,
A shivering body, with an empty wallet,
Whose spirit has already been broken.

The winter without a blanket
The homeless man whispers,
As he disappears into the night like a ferret;
Oblivious of the hailstorm and its dangers.

Thus, in the wintry chill and gloom
Lonely stars fill his sleepless night,
In full view of the waxing moon;
The winter without a blanket in sight.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Refugees Bring Freshness and Vitality

The Uniting Church in South Australia is helping the African refugees deal with the daily pressures of transition; focusing on the practical problems of adaptation and the issues of spiritual renewal in the new environment.

“We in the Uniting Church have become particularly aware of the plight of Sudanese refugees because so many of them have joined our congregation”, said Reverend Graham Vawser, the moderator of the Uniting Church in Adelaide city.

“One of the reasons we welcome them so enthusiastically is that they bring such a freshness, such a vitality of faith” to the Australian society.

The church has recently launched a refugee support fund to help African refugees come to Australia (where they can find a new world of faith and opportunity for learning), according to The Advertiser newspaper report.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Aid to Orphans

The Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, has announced $12 million in funding over the next three years to improve the lives of children orphaned by AIDS in Africa, according to the Sunday Mail report.

The principal objective of this funding is to give the orphans a better access to education and health care in Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Dreamtime Winter

When the dreamtime winter
Shows its cold and dangerous face,
The lost boy ducks for cover;
And the red kangaroo follows his trace.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Christ Ambassadors Mission

African migrants and refugees in Australia are experiencing something of a religious revival, as their persistent search for meaning continues during the early years of arrival.

But, for the spiritually aware, it’s nothing short of an epiphany, the manifestation of a supernatural or divine reality, during this period of transition and great upheaval.

Most of the new arrivals have joined the existing mainstream churches; while others are constantly seeking spiritual paths of their own through individual efforts and private prayer meetings in small groups.

“Our mission is to spread the word of God and everyone is welcome to pray with us", so says Samuel Dirosimi William. “We are an inclusive community”.

Samuel is a refugee from the West African nation of Sierra Leone and the co-founder (with Dennis Ellie) of the Christ Ambassadors Mission (CAM).

He is a committed Christian with strong moral principles, a true believer in the divine intervention. For him, the formation of CAM is a significant development in more ways than one. A dream comes true!

In fact, Samuel strongly believes that the problems of survival in the new and emerging African communities in Australia can be solved through Christian teaching and the application of Biblical principles.

He often speaks, eloquently, of the need for the good old, Christian, values of love and compassion; focusing on the desire to help the poor and the homeless.

The newly established church, Christ Ambassadors Mission, holds its weekly service in a temporary location in down town Adelaide, South Australia.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Australian Winter

It’s winter time in Oz
A glorious season where beauty flowers
And birds flap their wings with glee.

The wrens are hard to find
But there’s an orgy of flowering gum trees
In the graceful landscape we love.

The eucalyptus in bloom
Red, yellow, orange, purple, and white flowers
The ascent of the rainbow nation.

Behold the season of plenty
A legion of frisky parrots in feeding frenzy;
While the homeless begs for mercy.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Employment Program for Muslim Women

The low participation of Muslim women in the Australian economy is a challenging proposition even in the best of times. But that will soon change if the Centrelink, one of the largest service providers in the nation, has its way.

At the time of writing, the Centrelink’s Multicultural Services Branch has identified effective strategies of dealing with the socio-cultural and religious barriers facing Muslim women in the Australian labour market.

It should be stated that Centrelink is an agency of the Department of Human Services whose principal function is to deliver a range of services to the Australian community.

On an optimistic note, the organisation will work with the local “Job Network” establishments to identify suitable employment and training opportunities for Muslim women – a project that has received an overwhelming community support.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Young Eagle

The young eagle
Soars above the heavens
Catching the falling star.

The first flight
Of the brave young eagle impresses!
How majestic?

He rides confidently
On the powerful wings of the angels
Touching the rings of Saturn.

Now, the poor thing
Dreams of being a merchant banker
Trading up!

Yet, back on terra firma
A tragic twist of fate; war and famine
And the gruelling poverty!

But he holds his nerve;
Feeding on the tender birds of Oz;
Devouring the yummy lizards!

Beautiful is the nest
But there’s neither peace; nor rest
On the exotic route to Everest.

And yet, his quest
For selfless passion continues unabated;
Enchanted vision realised!

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Best of Autumn Rain

The best of autumn rain
Edible mushrooms in the field
Toadstools need no mercy!

The flowering vines
Now in the tender arms
Of the antipodean autumn.

Empty feelings
In the autumn rain
Bees in hibernation.

Who says autumn is dead?
Witness the sacred bambo
In full bloom

The rainy days of autumn
Yellow leaves in full flight, still
Dreaming of the magnesium lost!

Behold the autumn rain
The omens are good
Whales on the way!

Night birds on the prowl
Lots of fun in the antipodean garden
Under the gentle autumn rain

The autumn rain
Washes away my sorrows
Vibrant spirit renewed.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Conversation with Pele Okumu

Pele Okumu knows a great deal about the struggle for survival. But his new life in Australia has given him some hope and a few ideas to chew over. I had a chat with him a few days ago.

What is your country of origin?

I was born in Southern Sudan and grew up in the Acholi-speaking areas of the country till the war and famine forced me to leave. And I left my childhood behind!

How long have you been in Australia?

I 've lived in Australia, as a refugee, for six years

What do you like most about Australia?

I like the peace and security here. There is also a lot of opportunity for education and self-improvement. And the people are very nice!

What is your favourite food?

I have tried different types of dishes, since my arrival. But I’m still very passionate about the taste of African food – I like it spicy with lots of vegetables.

What is your favourite drink?

I like a glass of cold water. But, sometimes, I drink orange juice or fanta. Alcoholic beverage is not for me!

Favourite read?

I read non-fiction books. I also read newspapers, and magazines.

Favourite TV programs?

Reality TV is my favourite program. But I do watch the news, current affairs, and documentaries on the ABC and SBS. (I also listen to the BBC News.)

Favourite music?

African traditional music, pop, R & B.

What is your ultimate goal?

My goal is to travel around the world, help those in need, and be a good citizen. But, first, I must get a good education, and a better job.

What would you do to help improve the living conditions of African refugees in Australia?

Firstly, I would like to help the poor and single mothers who are really struggling to survive; and who are still crying out for affordable accommodation, living expenses and childcare.

The new arrivals also need all the support they can get in terms of access to education, and job opportunities. The young ones need special care and protection. And some have already lost their way!

I think they need a good dose of cultural orientation to remind them of their roots.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Enough is Enough

The Legal Services Commission of South Australia and the African Communities Council present “Enough is Enough: The Nile Family goes to Court”, a social drama on the implications of the family law for the new migrants and refugees.

The scene is set for a dramatic rendition of the marital problems in the new and emerging African communities in Australia. The theatrical presentation begins with Albert and Lina’s marriage in Liberia 12 years ago. Albert had a little shop, where he sold drinks and cigarettes. He had a basic education. But his wife, Lina, could not read or write.

In 1995, a year after their marriage, they fled the Liberian civil war to a refugee camp in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa, where they stayed until 2005 when they migrated to Australia as humanitarian entrants.

This is where the real drama begins. For several months, Albert had difficulty getting a job in Australia, but he is presently working as a packer at a timber yard. He now has more money than he ever had and is very happy.

But his marriage to Lina is on the rocks! And the reason is not hard to find: Albert controls all the money; exercising optimum “power” and authority over family affairs. He sends money to his family in Liberia but he won’t send any money to his wife’s family as the Liberian custom dictates. Lina complains bitterly!

Lina has been unhappy at home for quite a while. One night, there was a big fight and she decided “enough is enough” and left in disgust; taking all her three children with her.

Thus, as Lina makes her move, the real challenge is to try and save Albert’s marriage through mediation or third party intervention. But, this will not do!

In fact, there is a great deal of uncertainty as Lina’s solicitor makes an application to the family court. There’s an emotional pain and trauma and gnashing of teeth as the courtroom drama unfolds!

Enough is Enough: the Nile Family goes to Court is a beautiful and compelling piece of amateur theatre drawn from Africa’s cultural experience and the reality of life in the new and emerging African communities in Australia.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The African Journey

The Migrant Resource Centre of South Australia presents the African Journey at the Festival Theatre, 27 May 2006.

This, indeed, is a celebration of all things African - a spectacular journey of dance, drumming, and songs.

For more information, contact:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Lonesome One

There’s nothing as lonesome
As the autumn flower on the hill,
As the restless spirit with no home
And as a survivor with no skill.

Nothing as lonesome as an orphan,
As a single lily in the summer’s pond;
As the superhero with no passion
And as the giant star in the sky beyond.

There’s no one as lonesome as the lost boy
Struggling for survival in the city of churches;
A young man we should discipline and employ
To help the aged and inspire the masses.

Nothing as lonesome as the beam of light
The messenger from the heavens we often see
In the glorious antipodean sky at night
So, let the natural beauty be!

None as lonesome as a solitary dancer
As the homeless man in a deserted park;
As the cold and empty bed of the new settler
And as the old and beautiful landmark.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Bible and Your Health

The copies of the Holy Bible have been removed from the public hospital bedside tables across Australia, according to The Sunday Mail newspaper report.

The move is part of the infection control program in the health system. But those Australians, who see the Bible as a source of comfort, are not amused.

The new policy is based on the basic premise that while the Bible can effectively spread The Word, it can also spread germs or offend non-Christians.

Nevertheless, The Good Book will still be available to patients upon request.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Searching for Self

He came to the land Down Under
Frantically searching for self;
Showing tremendous courage
And nobility of purpose.

He is the brave survivor
Of Africa’s long wars and famine
The fighter of hunger and starvation;
A struggling soul in need of refuge!

Now, with his creative mind
Partly consumed by joblessness
And tormented by the weekly rent
He remains a stranger with no luck!

A sensitive being from way back
Doing the daily battle for survival
An innocent life fractured by emotions
As anger, sorrow and fear take their toll.

At dusk, he retreats to his humble abode
Sitting like an orphan in a cold and lonely night
Hopelessly lost and suffering in silence
A dejected soul in the suburb of light.

But, despite the meaninglessness of life,
His fighting spirit remains undiminished
The pain, suffering and degradation
Only fuelled his desire to prove himself.

His main goal is “to be somebody”
And to lead a life of love and compassion,
He wants to be more creative and successful
Where others have tried and failed.

Thus, as the unsung hero of the struggle,
He knows too well that things are changing
And that living under a different sun
Can be a rewarding experience.

He now believes there’s a glimmer of hope
A relief of some sort to soften the pain; and yet
As the earth moves, the future remains uncertain
Living on the edge is not for the faint-hearted.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Great Escape from Hell

The Australian nation rejoices as Todd Russell and Brant Webb, the rescued miners of Beaconsfield, enjoy their second day of freedom; meeting friends, families, and well wishers after 14 nights in hell.

This is, definitely, one of the most successful rescue operations in the history of the mining industry.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Trapped Australian Miners Rescued

Two trapped Australian miners, Brant Webb and Todd Russell, have been successfully rescued after 14 days of entombment almost 1km underground.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Tears of the Lost Boy

His tears wet the land
Flooding the big dry river beds
And filling the empty dams
Yet, he has no place to call home!
Nowhere to rest his tender limbs
Nor end his long and endless suffering

Nevertheless, the lost boy marches on!
Head in the air like a proud warrior
His powerful feet firmly on the ground;
Thinking of the childhood lost;
Of the rights and freedom denied
Of the war and devastation of his homeland
Yet, his hope remains undiminished
(His cry for help largely unheard!)

He lives on the edge even in the best of times
Among the homeless and the hungry;
But, now, suffering has changed him forever;
Moulding his character as a moral being
Educating and enriching his mind for good;
And consolidating his vital link
With the generous spirit of the time
In the ancient Land of Oz

It’s not yet nirvana, though!
Nor is he seriously looking for one, just yet
(I’ve seen him at his best and worst in recent times)
But years of suffering has strengthened his resolve!
His struggle for survival has become the catalyst
For ingenuity and the oxygen of adaptation
Since the early days of arrival

He has, effectively, travelled the world
In search of refuge, as ordained by fate;
Crossing the legendary Nile – a brave act!
Unhelped by the gentle wind, so to speak;
And flying over the high seas
In the continuous narrative
Of his young and innocent life

Yet, the saga of the lost boy continues
He knows not the origin of his suffering
Nor the real source of his endless struggle
Nor when the tears first began to flow
But Searches in vain for meaning
In the heart-break trenches
Of his ancestral homeland
And in the fatal shores of Oz

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Virtual Rally for Darfur

This Sunday, people will be speaking out against the violence in Darfur at a rally in Washington D.C., USA.

For the many caring people who can’t make the trip to D.C., but would like to help stop the slaughter in Darfur, a “virtual rally” has been organised.

You can sign the Human Rights First’s “Stand in for a Victim” petition – and leave a personal message for peace –

Please help make the virtual rally a reality!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Antipodean Autumn

The allure of antipodean autumn
Large flocks of crested pigeons and galahs
Showcase their plumes.

Behold the new arrivals
The kookaburra, corellas, and sparrows
Embrace the autumn daisies.

The autumn blues:
Homelessness and the meaning of life
How are we to live?

The rock wallaby
Feeds the restless autumn crowd
The milk of marsupial kindness.

Prepare to smile!
Cool birds in my garden
Kissing the autumn vines.

The laughing birds:
Kookaburras on my porch
Why are they so pretty?

Survival of the species
Shy birds need more thickets to hide
Who ate the last lorikeet?

The antipodean autumn
Captures the hearts of many,
As the amorous rose blooms.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Monica's Fury

The residents of Australia’s Northern Territory breathe a big sigh of relief, as the tropical Cyclone Monica weakened significantly.

The city of Darwin has been spared the worst of Monica’s fury.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monica's Strength

Cyclone Monica is expected to hit Australia’s Coburg Peninsula today; striking real fear into the minds of residents.

Monica, a category five tropical storm, is heading towards the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory – a city that was nearly wiped out by storm 30 years ago.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Autumn Feast

Autumn feast Down Under:
A blaze of colour in the hills
And trees in their autumn best.

The flight of autumn leaves
A delightful quest for freedom
The naked branches revealed!

Autumn blues:
A few showers and thunderstorms
Before the beautiful sunrise.

Sharing the gifts of autumn
Feed the hungry child
And save the human race.

Relax, autumn is here!
The big brother is watching you
But who is watching the big brother?

Surviving the fall
The refugees count on their inner strength;
Tending the golden buds of autumn.

Feasting the senses,
They keep their autumn dreams alive
But where’s the rainbow?

The enchanted city
Falls under the spells of autumn
A blaze of colour – scenic beauty!

The lost boy finds his way,
Relaxing under the huge oak tree;
Watching the autumn birds.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Monday, April 17, 2006

From Eritrea with Love

Living as a refugee is a challenging proposition, even in the best of times. But, Mohammed Idriss, a young man from Eritrea, definitely, knows a thing or two about what it means to be a refugee in Australia in the 21st century.

Mohammed was born in Eritrea in 1968 and came to Australia as a refugee in the 1990s. “My parents are Eritrean nationals with a large family of ten”, he said. “I have four brothers and five sisters”.

Eritrea is a small country of 3.5 million people on the north-eastern coast of Africa. It’s one of the newest African countries bordered by Ethiopia, the Sudan and the Red Sea.

Mohammed has a vivid memory of his ancestral homeland. And still talks candidly about the pain and devastation evident in three decades of war with Ethiopia – a war that led to the Eritrean independence.

Thus, to meet him is to be ensnared in the discourse on Eritrean politics and the struggle for survival.

Yet, as far as he is concerned, the war was a personal tragedy or what he describes as “My family nightmare”; more so because of the abduction of his father.

“My dad was the victim of an abduction…He was abducted at night by the officials of the Ethiopian intelligence agency in 1985 during the Mengistu regime”, said Mohammed. “Nobody knows till today if he is alive or dead”.

Meanwhile, the nightmare continues, unabated.

But, despite the pain and trauma of transition, Mohammed has made a remarkable adaptation to life in the land Down Under. He now calls Australia home!

“I am very happy enjoying the freedom in Australia”, he said, with a broad smile. “I have worked very hard since my arrival here and have changed a few jobs that I didn’t really like”.

On the whole, things are looking up for Mohammed who is happily married with three lovely kids, two boys aged 9 and 7; and a girl aged 3. He is a devoted family man, a good worker, and a conscientious student of international business.

Thus, like the new generation of Africans in Diaspora, Mohammed is looking forward to building a prosperous future in Australia. He has a dream (and a very good one at that!).

“My dream is to lead a good life, provide a decent education for my kids, and help some needy people in the third world countries”, he said, with a great deal of optimism.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Global Fight against HIV-AIDS

The South African academic, Professor Malegapuru William Makgoba, says Australia needs to prepare for the AIDS pandemic, although the disease is not a significant problem in the land Down Under.

He is on record as saying that the Australian universities can collaborate with African universities (in research and treatment) on the global fight against the HIV-AIDS pandemic, according to The Australian newspaper report.

Professor Makgoba is now attending the Association of Commonwealth Universities Conference in Adelaide, South Australia.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Days of Hope

Thirty-five members of the Paradise Community Church in South Australia are now on their way to Rwanda to offer the much needed aid and support to the surviving victims of genocide.

The team, which includes builders, teachers, musicians, and medical staff, will be in the African nation until July, 2006.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Attack of the Golden Sun

The golden sun moths have scuttled a $400 million residential development in Melbourne, Australia.

The golden sun is a tiny moth whose grassland habitat made up 40 per cent of site.

And, according to The Australian newspaper report, the developers believe the golden sun moth, which looks more like a butterfly, is an important issue with regard to the development.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Floodwaters in Katherine

After days of torrential rain, floodwaters have inundated the northern Australian town of Katherine; leading to the evacuation of 600 people.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Harvest Festival

Today, food and wine lovers in South Australia are having a great deal of fun, as they head to the Adelaide hills in great numbers to celebrate the Hills Harvest Festival.

It’s, undoubtedly, a perfect opportunity for all visitors to get intimate with Australia’s most beautiful wine region.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Australia's Diverse Population

A new report shows that, in 2004-5, the Australian population increased by 110,000 persons due to net overseas migration.

At 30 June 2005, almost one quarter of the Australian population was born overseas, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Persons born in Sub-Saharan Africa recorded an average increase of 6% per year, the largest growth of all major regions between 1996 and 2005

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Falling Leaves


The falling leaves
Tell no tales
Silence is golden.


The autumn foliage
The green leaves that never die
Why are we so blessed?


A once proud man
Rattling the tin for a living
How things have changed?


Love in antipodean garden
I saw the bees kissing the rose
Before the fall.


Autumn has arrived
Witness the flight of the kingfishers,
And the flowering of the daisies!


Autumn leaves
Red, orange, yellow, and brown
A coat of many colours.


The magpie sings
And the garden blooms Down Under
Brilliant colours of the rainbow!


The falling leaves
Lie motionless in the field of dreams
Feeding the microbes.


The flaming colours
And the subtle beauty of autumn
Touch my soul.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Building Bridges across Cultures

Australia’s Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, opened the Harmony Day Expo at the Adelaide Secondary School of English yesterday; preaching tolerance and cultural diversity.

Furthermore, the foundation for a new sensibility between Muslims and non-Muslims was laid, so to speak, when the Al-Khalil mosque in Woodville, South Australia, held an open day ceremony for all Australians - a deliberate attempt to build bridges across cultures.

It was a big “Do” for Harmony Day 2006. And a positive stroke for cultural diversity in the land Down Under.

Nationally though, about 300,000 Australians celebrated the Harmony Day with 5000 different events; promoting the social, cultural and economic benefits of multiculturalism.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Surviving the Change (Haiku)

Surviving the change
A long journey of uncertainty
Whispers of hope.

A year of lucky breaks!
Is there a big sting in the tale?
That’s the question.

Lost in paradise
Or poverty in the midst of plenty;
Unbearable sadness of being!

Dream of harmony
But help is needed in all directions
Where’s the love?

By the Murray River,
They sat in profound silence;
Thinking of home.

The spring moonlight
Brings hope for a better life;
Calming the restless!

Rising to the challenge,
A new spirit in the neighbourhood
Wrestles with the future.

Love and laughter
In the secret garden,
Paradise found.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Girl Who Stole the Show

Moleboheng Mafato, aged 21, from the African Kingdom of Lesotho has stolen the show at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. The tiny athlete impressed the 80,000-strong crowd at the opening ceremony when she walked bare-footed and bare-chested in a traditional outfit from her homeland.

When it was all over, Mafato said she was extremely proud to showcase her national costume in the true spirit of the Games – making a huge impact on the audience!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Queen in Australia

A large crowd is expected at the MCG tonight as Queen Elizabeth II opens the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia – a great sporting and media event.

With a potential TV audience of a billion people in five continents, the Commonwealth Games organisers have staked Melbourne’s reputation, as a creative and vibrant city, on the success of tonight’s opening ceremony.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Love and Laughter in the Camp (Haiku)

Behold the wonder!
The mystical powers of love and
Laughter in the camp.

Dancing with the mystery
The image of a splendid beauty
Kissing my fears away.

Dream of greener pastures
Overflowing with love and happiness
In the dawn of spring.

Life in the fringe
Images of love and beauty
Inspire new hope.

Surviving the passage
A wave of humour and laughter
Overwhelms the living.

The Murray River cruise
The art of love revealed
Perfect harmony!

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fringe Family Day

Monday, 13th March 2006, is the Fringe Family Day in Adelaide, South Australia. And it’s guaranteed to be a day of fun and entertainment for all ages.

African music and dance performances will feature prominently in this year’s Fringe Family Day festivities.

The program includes African drumming and dancing; featuring Sheela Langeberg, the Tanzanian-born diva and playwright.

The master drummer, Sam Oshodi, will delight the crowd.

The family day events also feature story-telling and creative workshops on drum-making.

Not to be forgotten is the Sudanese fashion parade which will be presented by the African Community Council of South Australia.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

World Music Festival

Last night, the 10th world music festival kicked off in Adelaide city, South Australia, with a star studded performance by African artists. The African goddess of song, Miriam Makeba, was on the centre stage.

In fact, African stars had the Australian audience on their feet as the mesmerizing fusion of traditional and contemporary dance rhythms started to take hold. And the crowd, increasingly, warmed to the healing songs of the versatile Cameroon diva Coco Mbassi.

In the true spirit of world music, this year’s festival has attracted 430 celebrated artists from 27 countries around the world.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

On the Images of Home

They dream of the devoted home they left behind
Of the tropical rose garden in bloom
Of the beautiful palm trees dancing in the wind
And the boundless joy of their childhood playroom.

They say, cheerfully: home sweet home
Because that’s where the real love was born;
And where the young and playful souls roam,
Flowers and the generous spirit adorn.

Yet, their home is not just a home but a castle!
A home is an enduring passion, a creative state of mind
A joyful place to build and settle
Where charity begins and values refined.

Migrants’ memory of home lingers forever
But visions of a new and better life bind them all;
Their shared belief in the divine Giver,
And a passionate love of sports and the shopping mall.

A new home is the sacred place of the heart
Where beautiful feelings come to light
And migrant youths play their part
Inner peace in the darkest antipodean night!

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Who is Afraid of Multiculturalism?

The federal treasurer, Peter Costello, has bluntly warned the radical Muslims and other migrants to accept Australian values, respect the laws and liberties of the land or lose their right to citizenship.

And the treasurer’s position is well supported by the Prime Minister, John Howard, who is on record as saying: “I don’t believe you should ban wearing headscarfs but I do think the full garb is confronting and that is how most people feel”.

Come to think of it, the good treasurer (like some of his cabinet colleagues) believes those who want to live under the Islamic sharia law should move to countries where they would feel “more at ease”. He is obviously concerned with the emergence of what he describes as “mushy and misguided multiculturalism”.

Muslim leaders, who came here as migrants and refugees, have accused him of promoting “Islamophobia”; misunderstanding the real meaning of the sharia law.

But there are other points of view on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbot, is on moral high ground when he argues that the advocates of sharia law should not be dismissed as un-Australian. And that, by accepting difference, multiculturalism is likely to be the most effective long term antidote to the antagonisms evident in the Australian society.

Essentially though, multiculturalism strives to avoid confrontation of the type seen during the Cronulla race riots in this country. And by stressing harmony and respect, multiculturalism aims to foster the kind of dialogue that diminishes the potential for conflict – a point recently emphasized by Mr. Abbott.

Thus, in the scheme of things, multiculturalism as an organising principle should be seen as an effective solution to the problem of cultural diversity.

It seems to me, quite clearly, that multicultural life is not the main problem. It is the fear of multiculturalism (in all its manifestations) that poses the greatest danger.

In fact, Abbot puts his Christian values into practice when he argued that multiculturalism is an invitation to try to understand others’ ways of thinking and living – he is, absolutely, right on this score.

Now, all hands must be on deck! We must deal with the problem of cultural diversity at the local, state, and federal levels, by building bridges across cultures!

Moderation is the name of the game of politics in the 21st century. There is absolutely nothing to fear but fear itself.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Housing Refugees in Lyndoch

The angry residents of the South Australian town of Lyndoch have criticized the state government’s initiative to provide affordable housing to low-income earners and Somali refugees.

The $3 million project is, primarily, aimed at building 19 houses in the heart of Lyndoch. But the locals see it as “a betrayal” of the town, according to the Sunday Mail report.

The Minister for Families and Communities, Jay Weatherill, said the negative reaction is based on ignorance of the project, as the refugees will breathe a new life into Lyndoch; providing the much needed labour to the vineyards, and other local industries.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Midsummer Sun

Under the midsummer sun
The wild rose blooms
In absolute silence.

Then, the antipodean garden
Gives up its secrets; revealing
The spiritual essence of the land.

Suddenly, the lost boy
Finds a new lease on life
Capturing the pulse of summer.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, February 17, 2006

Boom in Refugee Intake

New figures, just released, show quite clearly that Australia is in the midst of the largest monthly intake of refugees this financial year.

African refugees are among the new arrivals. And 10 African families have already arrived in Australia from the refugee camps in Tanzania, after fleeing persecution in Burundi and the Democratic republic of Congo.

They will be resettled in the state of South Australia.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tales of Life in Diaspora

Tales of life in Diaspora
Of poverty in the midst of plenty
Of homelessness and despair
Of inner fears and endless tears
Of long wars yet to be won
Of the mystery of survival in times of crisis
Of anger and hope for the future
Of muted cry of the desperate soul
Of lost boys and girls in need
Of the forgotten men in the city of light
Of young mothers suffering in silence
Of memories of the homeland betrayed
Of priceless treasures forgone
Of the exiled dream of good life
Of sadness and joy of self discovery
Of barefoot workers living on the edge
Of joblessness and false hope
Of the restless spirit of the dead
Of love and hate in the spring of life
Of deep feelings of emptiness in the suburbia and
Of absolute meaninglessness of life in exile.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Bogus Woman takes Centre Stage

The good news is that Kay Adshead’s devastating play, The Bogus Woman, has taken the centre stage in the land Down Under.

It has already been selected as one of the five top theatre shows to see in the upcoming Adelaide Fringe Festival in South Australia, according to The Advertiser newspaper report.

The Bogus Woman
is a powerful political play on aspects of immigration procedures – a highly successful one woman show.

It is a play which speaks to us through a poetic language that is both brutal and beautiful. A commanding moral voice on stage!

Full credits to Sarah Niles who plays over 48 different characters as the story is told of a young African woman who has to flee her country, after the mass murder of her family and seeks asylum in London.

Kay Adshead has effectively used modern theatre to give voice to those who are struggling for justice and freedom under the most difficult circumstances.

A great political theatre!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Secrets of Ancient Egypt

The secrets of the ancient Egyptian civilisation have been revealed in an exhibition by the Australian Museum in Adelaide, South Australia (in conjunction with the National Museum of Antiquities, Netherlands).

This excellent exhibition brings together a wealth of Egyptian relics; including hieroglyphs, mummified animals, amulets and jewellery as well as current scientific research on mummies.

More than 160 extremely rare Egyptian objects have been brought to Australia for the first time.

Artefacts include the mummified body of Keku, a wealthy Egyptian woman who died 2,700 years ago.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Love in the Jungle (Limerick)

They believe love is always in the air
Some say it’s probably in the hair
But there’s a fundamental question
In this fascinating equation
How to keep the body and soul together in Mayfair

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Australia Day

Having been completely overwhelmed by a deep sense of shared values and national identity, African-Australians (young and old) are now celebrating the Australia Day in style. In fact, they have very quickly learnt how to be Australian – a statement of survival. And some are obviously enjoying the experience!

Happy Australia Day!

Read more:

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Old Man from Ethiopia (Limerick)

There once was an old man from Ethiopia
Who lived in the heart of Utopia
One day he said: “I need more outside activity
And a great deal of love and certainty”
Just to ward off dementia.

Fully armed with boundless energy
And a high dose of creative synergy
He talked, at length, about his amazing transformation;
And how his secret potion provided a new inspiration!
But his real “asset” was an amusing young floozy.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Friday, January 20, 2006

Drowning at the Henley Beach

Beachgoers watched in horror as a 32-year-old man of African descent died on the Henley Beach in South Australia. According to The Advertiser newspaper report, efforts to save him failed partly because of language barrier.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Missing Asylum Seekers Found

A missing boatload of asylum seekers has been found at Cape York, according to the Australian Immigration Department sources. The refugee activists believe the 40 people on board are trying to seek asylum in Australia.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Just Married

True love manifested itself as Laura Hammond and Fritz Tambe exchanged their vows in holy matrimony, after eight years of courtship.

The marriage of the happy couple (and the reception that followed) took place at the Glen Ewin Estate, Houghton, South Australia. It was a day to remember - a day of pampering and a touch of class!

The bride and groom will spend their romantic honeymoon in New Zealand.

Laura is the beautiful daughter of Anne and Neil Hammond of Adelaide. And Fritz’s parents are Mary and Augustine Tambe of the Republic of Cameroon.

Friday, January 13, 2006

African Sanctus Down Under

David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus, a musical ensemble, will be the highlight of this year’s Australian Intervarsity Choral Festival in Adelaide, South Australia. The Festival brings together university choirs from all over Australia.

The first concert will feature Fanshawe’s work (conducted by local composer and musician Timothy Sexton); incorporating a soundtrack of traditional African music recorded during his travel along the River Nile. This, indeed, is a great celebration of cultural diversity.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Limerick of the Poor

There once was a young man named Finback
Who tried to make a living in the outback
And ended up in poverty
Because he had no property;
Nothing but the shirt on his back

He seriously thought about going to Findon
But didn’t want to end up in Weldon
Where there’s neither future
Nor flour nor good pasture,
Only a ration of rancid bacon

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Conversation with Hamadou Haman

He’s just one of the newcomers to the land Down Under. But as Hamadou Haman struggles for survival, he does so with the knowledge that a great future awaits him.

What is your country of origin?

How long have you been in Australia?
I have lived in Australia for two years. It’s been a great challenge for me but I’m enjoying the experience.

What do you like most about this country?
The quality of life here is fantastic. There is a sense of stability and wellbeing.

What is your favourite food?
African food! Pounded yam is my favourite dish. But okra soup is also good for the soul – I love it.

Do you have a favourite drink?
I like the wholesome, crisp-tasting, nature of organic fruit juice. In fact, I like anything to do with the nectar of tropical fruits.

Have you read anything interesting lately?
I read mostly computer books, journals, newsletters, and the financial press.

What is your favourite TV program?
I’m absolutely passionate about the news, documentaries, reality TV shows and the like - something new and unconventional.

What sort of music do you like?
I like African music because it offers unlimited scope for cultural interaction and experimentation - spreading the enlightenment! I’m naturally drawn to the cool, understated, harmony and rhythm inherent in African music.

What is your ultimate goal?
My goal is to work hard, finish my studies, and find a job in the information technology industry.

What would you do to help improve the life of African refugees in Australia?
Educate the new arrivals! I want to be a positive role model for the young migrants and refugees struggling to make sense of the world around them.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Young Lady from Ghana

There once was a young lady from Ghana
Whose name was Helena
She had nothing but a big dream
Of launching a new brand of cream,
But, on that fateful day, she choked on a fishbone in Kadina.

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What will you do to help the African refugees in Australia this year?

Community Centre
I will open up an African community centre: a place where Africans can come and share their feelings and think of a better way of helping each other.
- Sindi Swao.

Help them get a job
Motivate them! I will teach the new arrivals how to communicate effectively with others and help them get a good job.
- Genet Kabede

The secret of survival
Share the secrets of survival (in an alien environment) with the young and old; and, more importantly, instil the value of hard work.
- M. Adamu

Listen and Assist
I will spend a great deal of time listening to their concerns; helping them with their immediate needs; and encouraging them to go for their dreams.
- Lilliana Zacarias

Knowledge of the Issues
I strongly believe that knowledge of the issues affecting Africans in Australia is extremely important. I will listen and learn from the new arrivals; helping them to understand the Australian culture. But I will advice them not to forget their roots.
- Aden Mesganaw

Provide Education
As far as I am concerned, education is the number one priority. I think it is important to help the new comers get a good education or training; encouraging them to accept new ideas. Nevertheless, they should not abandon their own culture.
- Nahid Ali

NB: Please have your say!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Sea Change

Down the city streets
The longing for inner peace…
A home they left behind

The Golden heart

Love takes possession!
Golden hearts waiting for the chance
To embrace the refugees

© Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo