May I offer my best wishes for Christmas 25th December 2018 and Cultural Day, and the New Year 2019 to all the people of Equatoria community members, families and young people in NSW. Christmas provides an opportunity for us all to pause, reflect, and celebrate the things that we rightly cherish. It is a time when we, as citizens, as families, and as communities turn our minds to what is important – family, friendship, unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, purpose, creativity, Faith and homecoming. At Christmas we have an opportunity to renew our appreciation of these gifts, gifts which we hope will sustain us through the coming year.
At this time especially, those of us who are fortunate enough to have a joyous Christmas should be mindful of the need to reach out to others who – due to loss, emigration, war, hunger, illness, incarcerated, anger, death, financial circumstances or difficult time. We should be mindful too of those who maintain essential services during this time – volunteers, our parents, teachers, leaders, supporters, government, businessmen and women in our community, police officers, prison officers, Defence Forces, emergency services and medical staff. As Chairman of Equatoria community in NSW, I thank all these volunteers and community leaders, non-governmental agencies, public service personnel who dedicated service to our community.
As financial hardship has contracted in recent times, many people are feeling the consequences, in terms of employment or income to support families and friends in NSW-Australia, back home in South Sudan and refugee camps. However, our financial hardship or condition does not, on its own, define who we are.
We are, for example, people with a network of communities, that are increasingly active in responding to their own, and our society’s, difficulties. We also have the resource of kind donors and contribution who support each other, and who value our connection to celebrate.
A major priority during my first year in office was to engage with and listen to our young people and women. That engagement confirmed for me that our young people and women have a very positive vision for the future of our community and are determined to make their contribution to positive change.
There is much to be proud of, and much to build on, as we prepare for the New Year and look forward with hope and courage to realising all the possibilities that it presents. Possibilities such as all 36 six Equatoria ethnic tribes’ is the strength of our unity to a meaningful purpose and opportunity that represents to renew our founding idealism of social solidarity, peace, harmony, cohesion, and of shared cultures.
May I wish all of you who are celebrating this Christmas together, those on bed due to sickness, incarceration, yearning for peace a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a New Year full of promise, health, Real peace, and fulfilment.
On behave of ECWA i also want to register my sincere appreciation to you all. This includes: MCs: James Likambo & Lily Pitya Event Committee, Chairperson Charles Wani, Treasurer Justin Kaya, ECWA chairlady Anzia Inyasio, Rafa Godo, Grace Mabe, Sumeya Abo, Vivian Baba, Eva Jogo, Ester Kenyi, Awadia Lomude & Benjamin Wani) It was such a great honour we can change things through our strength of being meaningful and purposeful to be united and focus towards ECWA goals. Before being in the organizing committe team of 2017 ECWA Christmas and Cultural Day.
I had never realized how tough it was to be an event organizer. After the event over, I told my team that I needed to take a one-year break from participating in 2018 event organizing. I was too exhausted. This experience made me realize that we need to express appreciation to organizers. People pretty much takes for granted optional way of how volunteers in organising team operate. I also felt ashamed of others for their occasional heartless whining about those little things that seem not perfect liking. I guess until you are truly walking in other people’s shoes, we don’t start appreciate their effort: Regardless of how large or how long an event is, organizers need to make sure many things are in place ranging from big things such as speakers, hall, meals to smaller logistics parking spaces, cleaners, security, floor maps, promotion cards etc.
No matter how well things have been prepared ahead of time, there are always last-minute changes or glitches they need to take care. While you are enjoying a night out with old or new friends you have met at an ECWA Christmas and Cultural Day, organizers and volunteers have stay up very late to clean, mop and leave the events place orderly (few of the organizers and I stay back past 2am) to make sure results of leaving the location without damages and falls into place the next day. Organizing committee are also the first ones to have evaluation meeting to future. When we all are enjoying the food, the music, the talk, the crowd and the activities in the event, it is not that fun at all for the organizers. Believe me, instead of fun, they have been overwhelmed by stress and anxiety. They need to worry about enough attendees, food, security for the event, that the budget is enough to cover everything, that the program starts early and finish without issue. Some of you may argue that event planning is their job. You probably do not know but planning for an event often takes a team of organizers, many of whom are just volunteers.
They are not paid by the event. In most events, after so much effort and so many sleepless nights, all they want to see is a smile on our faces; and all they want to hear is your confirmation that you enjoyed the event. Don’t be too clingy with your smile. Just take a few minutes to tell them your appreciation. Use this link to conveniently send your appreciation to ECWA organizers of 2018 ECWA Christmas and Cultural Day.