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  You could have a big dipper   

Immigrant Messenger by Madhavi Johnson

Two strangers In a new land

Putting on our smiles And best hairdos

We connect on screen Twice a week

Hello, teacher, she says Hello there, I wave

Tell me about the weather Tell me about your home

How many rooms do you have? Do you have couches, cushions, curtains?

Red is my favourite colour. I like red, she says.

Do you go shopping? What do you buy?

The same. Week after week, she says

Do you have a car? Do you drive?

I go by bus by day and night, she says

How do you make money?

I do two jobs. Two half jobs, she says.

What language do you speak?

Lingala, French, Swahili, she says.

Did you ever go to school?

Until I had to leave home, she says.

Why? Where are you from? Where on earth is that?

Why have you come here? Why will you not tell me?

Sorry Teacher, she says My English is not good!


Madhavi Johnson uses triggers from real-life experiences combined with a rich knowledge of cultural and social contexts in writing fiction and non-fiction. She started her career as a Copy Writer in an ad agency in India. An interesting career in international development/ humanitarian work with UNICEF took her later to Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Kenya, Namibia and New York. An itinerant traveller, curious and respectful of cultures, languages and social interactions, she lives in Melbourne, and mentors’ young people from developing countries on organizational skills and self-development. She tweets @JohnsonMadhavi

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