In a safer place
When I came here, I had an open mind, but I had to adjust myself to life. I didn’t choose to be far away from my family. I didn’t choose to leave my country, Iran. I didn’t choose to be imprisoned. My only crime was to be Bahá’i, and I have always felt honoured to be raised Bahá’i. None of that was fair.
When I started my new life in Melbourne, after a long journey and years of displacement, I could not accept life had changed. I felt alone. I only knew a few words of English.
I was afraid, especially at night, of any loud noise. If people in the street made a noise or a neighbour’s screen door slammed shut, it would remind me of my life in prison.
Seeing a police car or people who were wearing military clothes made my heart beat faster. My body would shiver with fear. They reminded me of those who had arrested, attacked and tortured me.
Then I met people from Foundation House, and over time I have learned ways to overcome, or reduce, my fear and sadness.
From the heart
I remember the day when Mardi from Foundation House came to my home. She was friendly and because of the way she spoke to me I felt maybe I could trust her. I felt something else too. She had such deep kindness.
With some people perhaps you have a job, but you are only doing your job according to the book. But if you work from the heart, then you will succeed in a very different way. If someone really looks at you, and works with you because of who you are, that feels so important.
Since I have known Mardi, I have changed a lot. She has connected me with so many organisations. She never judged me when my speaking in English was incorrect. She has only ever spoken with love. She has taught me how to practise sitting, to be with my difficulties and memories.
I don’t tell anyone my whole story, of what happened to me in Iran, I couldn’t do that. I think Mardi knows around 70 per cent of that story. She is the person I am able to talk to and she encourages me to write the books that I now write.
The best healing we can have
I cannot have a different life, I cannot forget what happened to me, but I can start a new life. It’s like a person has two lives, the past and the one in the now, and Foundation House gives us hope for that new life.
I want to serve society here and help other people from all communities. We have to share and be brave. We have to learn about love and forgiveness.
Friendship and relationship are power. I have found that myself. I found people who love me for who I am. They don’t look at me with a sense of duty. They are honest with me and work with love. This is the best healing we can have.