By Rebecca Etengya 

    I am Rebecca and I was born in Tanzania. Tanzania is a country which is located in West Africa. My parents are Congolese. They came from Congo and settled in Tanzania in a refugee camp. I come from a family of eight children, six of us were born in Tanzania and two in Australia. 

    I was a student in my country. I studied for about eight years, however it was not easy because I am the first born in the family and I had to sometimes take care of my other siblings. Therefore it was very hard for me to concentrate in school. 

    My parents were busy working so it was sometimes hard for them to be working and take care of my young siblings. So I had to take that responsibility as an older sister. As I was starting class at 12:00 pm, I had to wake up early so that I could have more time, because I had to go to fetch water and it took about four hours to finish with that. I also had to sweep at home and cook for my siblings and myself. Moreover, I was a vendor and I was selling things like bananas because we had a farm and also I was selling sugar-cane, sweet potatoes, nuts and some vegetables etc… 

    Before coming to Western Melbourne English Program, I studied at WELS (Western English Language School). 

    After that, I had to move from Western English Language School. I wanted to go to high school but I couldn’t because I was already 18 years old and my English was still not so good. I had to ask my teachers at WELS which school may be better for me and most of them told me that Western Melbourne English Program would be alright for me. 

    In addition, my friends and brother who were studying at Western Melbourne English Program recommended it and they told me that this will be a good program for me and that is the reason I came here. 

    When I first came to Australia I couldn’t speak English because I didn’t learn English back in my country. Nevertheless I tried to learn French but even so it wasn’t easy.

    Learning English was not easy for me either because it was my first time. I sometimes felt overwhelmed but I didn’t have a choice.

    In addition I was having a hard time when it came to lockdowns, so it was really hard for me to learn online with zero English. However, I tried my best until now and I am doing well with learning English. 

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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