HUMANS OF THE WEST

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My name is Nuong and I am a 70 year old Vietnamese lady. I came to Australia as a refugee when I was 39 years old. When I first arrived in Australia, I had no time to study English because I had to support two kids by myself. I worked as a dish washer at Vietnamese restaurants and got paid $5/per hour. Which that small wage I have to work from 8 am to 12 midnight to earned enough to live.

In 1995, I was lucky enough to get another job in the clothing factory (Australian owner) with a better wage and better hours. As a result, I had more time with my kids and watching television improved my English. Making friends were hard because I did not speak English well and I was very shy back then.

In 2015 I retired at the age of 66 after being made redundant. It was a very tough time for me because I still wanted to work but I didn’t have the skills to work in another field. I felt so lonely and useless, I was scared to go around (before I only knew my way from home to work and back for the whole time I lived in Australia) and I started to feel very depressed. It was at that time that I felt insecure and it started to affect my family life, especially my relationship with my children. I ended up in hospital and seeing a psychologist to help with my mental health.

In 2017, I moved in to live with my daughter, which made me feel better as I can see my grandchildren every day and have someone to talk to during the day. My daughter’s family were Bulldogs mad and when I first moved in, I thought they were crazy because they painted the fence red white and blue.

I did not know what footy and who the Western Bulldogs was, I only know the colour and the funny shaped ball. They drag me to the game, and honestly I did not enjoy it at the time. I hate to see my daughter’s family get upset when the Bulldogs lose, and the atmosphere on the way home was very heavy that no one talked to each other (lately I realised it was the passion for the game). I stopped coming to the game with them but the funny thing was that I started to watch the game at home by myself.

I was happy when the Bulldogs win but would get very upset and go into my room to avoid everyone when the Bulldogs lose. I started to notice that my daughter’s family have infected me with the passion for the game.

Last year 2019 my daughter signed me up for the Daughters of The West program run by the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation. It was the first program that I have ever attended. I was really surprised with everything. How can I put up in words from here … well the friendliness of the people, the effort of the staff who tried so hard to make you feel included and comfortable. The program itself motivated me to be happy, exercises to keep me healthy and the most important thing for me was making friends, having someone to hang out with, sharing laughs and joy with many like-minded women.

I have a big spot for the WB in my heart for all the hard work they have done to support the community and vulnerable people out there to get better. I still exercise every day with my 5km walk in the morning. I can’t wait to join Daughters of The West program in 2020.

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