Bush Friends Stories
By Shade Fowosere
My name is Shade Fowosere. I am the first born and I have three other siblings, a boy and two girls. My dad was an agriculturist before he passed away in 2011 and mum is a horticulturist. We lived in the country side as a result of dad’s profession. Mum works in the Agricultural department of the Local Government Area of the Community we resided in, as the Assistant Head of Department. Being the daughter of very hard-working parents gave me a great start in life as we were raised to work hard and smart too. My parents believed education would open doors of opportunities so they worked very hard to ensure all four of us were educated.
I graduated with a degree in Finance and met my husband while working in a Microfinance Bank in Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos has a population of more than seven Million people. It has lots of beaches, high rise buildings typical of a city, and most company headquarters are situated on Lagos Island. Traffic conditions can be likened to Sydney here in Australia. The city is still bubbling until 2 a.m in the morning. My countrymen love to catch fun which is evident from the way we throw parties at the slightest opportunity. Child naming ceremony, birthday, engagement, introduction of bride-to-be to groom-to-be’s family, wedding, house warming are few of the occasions we throw fun and quality parties.
My husband had been to Australia on vacation a couple of times and fell in love with this country. He loved the people, the beaches, the fact that it has a lot of places to spend holidays with family and friends and most importantly the job opportunity and great life it gives if one is hard-working. He suggested we relocate to Australia so as to enable him pursue his career as a Doctor and be able to be of benefit to any town we find ourselves and give his family a great life. Having to resign was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life as it implies I will be leaving a bird at hand to hundreds in the forest which are not within my reach yet. It also means I’ll be leaving my friends and families that I’m used to behind.
We lived in Cessnock, NSW in the Hunter valley region when we came and I immediately saw the reason why Kay loves the people. They give us friendly smile when they meet us on the road, shopping mall or while going for a stroll and make nice compliments about the children. We made some quality friends who opened their heart and home to us. Some even helped to babysit my daughter for me in case I need to have some rest or while I was off to work. The support was overwhelming and I felt guilty I couldn’t do enough to reciprocate this love and support.
My husband got a job as a GP in Goulburn and moving down meant we have to make new friends. My son was about three months old and I stayed more at home as it was autumn and we were new to Goulburn weather. As much as I would have loved to have my husband spend more time at home, it’s felt selfish to prevent him from seeing patients in the hospitals and nursing homes who are in desperate need to see a doctor. Their needs outweighs mine and I accept that. To say it felt lonely being at home was an understatement. A new place with no friends yet or family was pretty much isolating. Liz Wragge sent me the rural doctors family network newsletter and that was how I found out they provide support to Doctors spouses. Melissa called me and introduced me to Cathryn, my Mentor. Cathryn, being a rural doctor’s wife herself, a mother, professional and much older and wiser was the perfect mentor I needed. She totally understood what I was going through and immediately came to my rescue.
Cathryn asked me what my hobbies are and how I could meet other young mums. She suggested I engage in doing what I love and that was what inspired me to return to improving myself so I could be able to find a good job. I feel really comfortable working and useful too so I enrolled for nursing at the University of Canberra and was happy to be offered an admission. I’m about to enrol online for a bridging course to enable me work part-time in the first degree I acquired overseas which is Finance and as well continue studying Nursing on a part-time basis. I’m not saying it’s going to be an easy ride as these courses are two different terrains but I have a record of achieving anything I set my mind to and this will not be any different. Cathryn comes all the way from Yass to pay me visits, call me every now and then and send text messages and e-mails to see how I’m progressing. She has been very supportive and consistent too. Cathryn and her family are my adopted family now. Meeting Cathryn on the platform of rural doctors family network has not only given me a new family I cherish but also the support I needed in a totally new place and most importantly added so much value to me and for this, I am very grateful to RMFN.
By Cathryn Williams
I grew up on a property in the wheatbelt in WA and attended boarding school in Perth and loved returning home to the country to see family and friends. I graduated as a High School Teacher and taught in rural and metropolitan schools in WA before moving to Sydney where I taught for five years. In that time I met my husband and moved to Yass in NSW. We have one son who is fourteen and attends boarding school. Professionally, I now teach as Relief Teacher in a number of schools in our local area which I love!
There were a number of determining factors that made me eventually become involved in the RMFN Bush Friends Program. I remember the importance of the community I had when growing up in a country town and think that we all have a part to play in helping new members to feel welcome. Marrying a GP has its challenges, as it is a constant balance between supporting them and the demands of their work, and at times not feeling selfish about wanting them to ourselves. I would like to think the support we give to each new member of a new community goes some way to sharing the load. Even though it seems a lifetime away now, I can remember how strange it felt coming to live in a town where I only knew friends of my husband and very few other people. I wish I had had something like this program when I moved here. Finally, I thought that some of the skills I had developed through my work may be able to help someone and be a voice at the end of the phone.
I met Shade and was immediately impressed with her vitality and love of life. Married with two beautiful children, we had a cup of tea on our first meeting and I knew she was going to fit in to any situation. She is now studying part–time in Canberra, no mean feat with two small children, as well as travelling an hour to Uni three times a week. Amazing!!!!!
Shade has my admiration for her determination and dare I say, awe! Her drive and energy have seen her embark on study that will enable her to make a significant contribution to a community no matter where she lives.
Being involved in the Bush Friends Program is a privilege. The opportunity to meet someone from another culture and share some of their experiences is not something we can all do. However I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with Shade and look forward to continuing our friendship in the future.