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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Celebrating Togetherness

Last Saturday night at the Moruya RSL hall saw the joyful coming together of the Eurobodalla multicultural community to feast and dance while building new friendships and renewing old ones. There is something about the sharing of food that binds us together, like a larger version of the Sunday family lunch. It is the food, the people and the atmosphere that make the gathering great and this event nailed it!

The tables groaned with an abundance of delicious food representing countries from across the globe. One guest told the organisers that she had “travelled all over the world and this feast was the best international food that she has ever tasted!” It was difficult to sample everything but there was no doubt that the centrepiece of this epicurean journey was the whole roast pig on a spit or Lechon Baboy in Tagalog (Filipino). The jovial atmosphere generated by over 200 guests eating their fill and chatting together, was further heightened by a range of wonderful cultural performances. Among the amazing acts was the Moroccan music that provided a beautiful backdrop to dinner, the colourful Filipina and Thai dancers who were mesmerizing, and the clarinet, flute and Oud performances that just added that something extra. However, it was the joy and energy of the Zorba the Greek dance that captured the celebratory atmosphere of the evening – everyone was up and dancing together, laughing with pure joy. There in front of us was unity in diversity in action in our multicultural Eurobodalla.

You would be surprised to know that a night like this only requested a small donation at the door from guests. How could this be? Surely the amazing food, the entertainment, the beautifully decorated Moruya RSL club and the effort of organising must have entailed significant cost? Well, the answer is that “it’s about a diverse community working together to support each other to produce something wonderful”. The Eurobodalla Multicultural Committee sent out invitations to everyone by word of mouth, the Batemans Bay and Moruya Facebook noticeboards as well as via other media. Everyone was welcome! They called for people not just to attend but to participate in celebrating our Shire’s multiculturalism. People from so many different groups generously stepped up to give us fabulous performances and amazing food. This was further supported by local businesses like the Mariners Hotel, Starfish Deli, Sawaddee Thai and Kohli’s donating delicious dishes. Of course, a night like this could not happen without all those behind-the-scenes people who organise, who set up the halls, decorated, cooked, donated money, and cleaned up afterwards. This is community helping community at its very best.

This event was indeed extraordinary, and while the unfunded Multicultural Group of the Eurobodalla happily organised, supported and funded it, it would be great if, for future events, we can work in partnership with our Council to assist covering the costs of things like the hall hire and perhaps even considering the provision of a multicultural hub for our region. In fact, this matter is already on the radar as Dr Michael Holland MP who enjoyed the wonderful food, music and dance from our diverse community” noted on his Facebook, “They need a hub, and I will work with NSW Government and Eurobodalla Shire Council to find them a home”. The Group celebrates unity in diversity in concrete ways like this event, but it does even more - facilitating the integration of migrants into the broader community and supporting them by addressing issues of inequity and poor access to information and relevant service providers. This in turn builds a much stronger, more unified Eurobodalla. We are all looking forward to a repeat next year. Oh, what a night!

Adrian Farrant from North Durras was at the night, enjoyed the range of musical performances and loved all the delicious food. “It was one of the best nights out," Mr Farrant said. "It drew a lot of people together from all different backgrounds, and that was so good."

He said a highlight was seeing so many diverse members of the community within the area all in one place and celebrating the wonderful community of the Eurobodalla.

One of the event organisers Cel Desabella said her highlight was seeing everyone want to stay and keep talking at the end of the night.

"I loved that people wanted to stay," she said.

"We aren't funded, we just asked the community to contribute, and everyone did." For another event organiser Jan Frikken, just seeing so many people come together and, more importantly, want to come together and celebrate the community was a highlight.

"I am just so proud such a new community can put on an event like that," she said.

Above: organisers Sherryn Bellis, Nina Shatifan, Cel Descabella and Anna Welch

Above: Adrian Farrant (right) with Dr Michael Holland and guests


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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