Arriving in Australia as an immigrant Greek child in the 1950s,
Emmanuel Alexion finds adjustment difficult, with the strong racial
discrimination at that time. Overcoming language difficulties and taunts of
being called a
at school, he works as a newspaper boy and later becomes a schoolteacher.
After an absence of almost half a century, Emmanuel returns to the Greek Island
of Rhodes. Here he and his wife Michelle experience unexpected changes in the
life-style and country of his birth. Finding long-lost family members and
walking the cobblestone streets of his childhood, Emmanuel takes the reader on a
sentimental and often humorous
journey through his Greek Roots.
This book will rekindle memories to many Greeks, those of Greek
ancestry and Australians who remember this era when migrant intake was at
A wonderful read for those who dream of visiting their homeland; a time to
remember the smells of sizzling souvlakia and oregano and to nibble on mezethes
and sip ouzo at a Kaffenion with friends.
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Genre: Non Fiction
Buy as a pdf Ebook version - $AUD9.00.
Emmanuel V. Alexion
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2006
As a migrant
youngster desperately trying to make Australian friends I tried very hard to fit
in with the other children’s playground games, especially at primary school.
It was very difficult because I could not converse with them. My English was
very limited; nonetheless I tried.
I thought I had it made when I was allowed to join in, in a game of “Cowboys
and Indians” as we called it in those days. My playmates tied me to a
basketball post with skipping ropes and began to do a war dance around me, as
was supposedly the practice in the Wild West days of
. We were having a ball. They were enjoying it, I was feeling accepted by my
playmates, and so the game went on until the bell rang. As soon as it rang they
disappeared from the scene to prepare for classes. I was left stranded and tied
to the post. Eventually I was able to free myself and I too went to the
classroom but of course I was late. The teacher was none too impressed with my
lateness and of course demanded to know where I had been and why I was late.
What could I tell her? I could not put an English sentence together at that
stage in my young migrant life so I was severely chastised and I think given
detention. My playmates were not saying anything. They enjoyed the severe
reprimand I received from the teacher while I simply cried my eyes out. Which
was not unusual for me during my early years of schooling in
be cruel to one another and this was a case in point.
recall ever playing that game again especially with that lot at that school.
This was an example of racial discrimination of which there were many in the
As a child I
was very conscious of being different; different from the other Australian
children. I even tried hard to look like an Aussie. I noticed that lots of
Australian children had freckles so I tried hard to get freckles. Somehow I got
the notion that if I were to eat Cornflakes I would develop some. How that idea
got into my head I do not know but I ate lots of Cornflakes. I also got to
believe that by eating Cornflakes I would become very strong. I needed to become
stronger than my Aussie counterparts so that I could survive some of the fights
that were foisted upon me because I was a dago as we were referred to in
newspaper selling days in
, my mother made me an apron with a large pocket in the front for my loose
change. Just above that pocket I printed my initials in quite large lettering.
The initials were “M.A.” of course standing for Manuel Alexion. A high
school student at the bus stops where I usually sold my papers, one afternoon
asked me what the initials stood for. I told him, “Mervyn Adams”. Of course
he didn’t believe me and made no bones about it by giving me a clip over the
ear. I did not retaliate because he was much bigger and older than I was. I did
not want to tell him my wog name because I was very conscious of being a
new Australian. Such was the plight of new arrivals to
in the 1950’s.
ability came to the fore early because I sold lots of newspapers. At first I
would sell about 75 papers but I increased this to 150 at the same selling
point. This was accomplished by my chance discovery that if I stood at the
entrance to a tall office block building and waited till the office workers
poured out of it, at five o’clock, I could sell lots of newspapers fast.
boss was amazed and very pleased with me until he received a complaint from
another of his sellers just down the road from my selling point. Evidently this
seller was used to servicing the clientele of the office block I had recently
discovered and was now selling about 75 newspapers fewer than before I arrived
on the scene. I was not prepared to revert to selling only 75 newspapers again
so I secured a new selling Job in
in the heart of
. I did very well there because I was able to purchase a second-hand bike, which
I very much treasured. It was a blue bike with back-pedal brakes which in those
days was ‘the ants pants’ of bicycle technology. I very lovingly cleaned and
polished and repainted that bike while using it to carry my heavy load of
newspapers to my allotted ‘stand’. I loved it so much that when one day it
got a puncture, I cried because I had not, as yet, learned how to repair it.
After all it did cost me the princely sum of five pounds ($10 in today’s terms
or probably about $50 if I purchased it today). Five pounds was about two
week’s wages for me working five days after school and half a day on Saturday.
I worked my
way up to being the best schoolboy newspaper seller in
and nearby streets that my boss serviced. He actually put us to the test one
day by sending someone up
looking as if he was out to buy a newspaper. I recall he did this by tossing up
a coin in front of himself and trying to look like a likely customer. I was a
seasoned newspaper seller by then so I spotted it immediately and offered the
decoy a paper. Of course he told my boss who duly praised me in the presence of
the other sellers at ‘pay-in’ time. ‘Pay-in’ time was about 6pm when all
the sellers had to hand in their takings for the afternoon and be given their
commission. This was calculated on how many dozen newspapers each of us sold. It
worked out to about a halfpenny (approximately half a cent) per newspaper.
school became a necessity. It wasn’t just for pocket money. The only money I
ended up with was the tip I received. My money went towards supplementing the
family budget and was an integral part of it. Without my income we couldn’t
really manage because my father was often without a job. Jobs were hard to
obtain in those days, especially if you were an unskilled migrant such as my
father was. Most of the time he was factory fodder; he worked in a factory doing
the work most home grown Australians would not do. He would earn about seven
pounds ($14) a week while my weekly bring-home pay was ($5). Not bad for a
little boy aged 10.
As it turned
out, I didn’t go into business. I became a schoolteacher instead. A teacher
who in those days was paid considerably less than a friend of mine who, after
finishing primary school, got a job washing cars at the Holden assembly plant
which was then situated in Fortitude Valley not far from the central business
district of Brisbane. To become a teacher had to be a miracle if one considers
my lack of English and the lack of continuity in my English education.
Continuity was a bigger problem than my lack of the mastery of the English
language because my father was rather itchy-footed.
the momentous move from Rhodes, we landed in
. In Rhodes I received a very sketchy Greek education because my father could
not make up his mind as to whether we should live in the
I had to transfer from one school to another, three transfers in all, because
my father once again could not make up his mind as to where we should live.
We soon left
to live in
where once again I had to adjust to a different curriculum. It was hard, for
apart from my lack of good English the
education system was more ambitious than the South Australian system.
Consequently I had to be put down a grade. Just as I was settling down to my
schooling in Brisbane, my father decided we should return to
where once again my school grade had to be adjusted. Now because the
system was ‘ahead’ of the South Australian, system, I was put up a grade.
it! We again returned to
to try and continue the mess my schooling was in by now. One can now understand
why I’ve called it a miracle to have been able to become a teacher.
, back to
, then back to
again. My father must have not just been itchy-footed, but also a little crazy!
intention has been to deliver an account of my feelings on visiting the land of
our birth after an absence of almost half a century. The rekindling of memories
after such a long time was, to say the least, an exhilarating, very interesting
and rewarding experience. The experience consisted of many happenings some of
which can perhaps be described as oddities; oddities for us but a way of life
for the locals. It is these oddities and unexpected happenings in Europe and
itself that should make this book one you cannot easily put down. Especially if
you are Greek, of Greek descent, or have visited Europe and
, and the famous holiday islands of the latter.
to re-acquaint ourselves with our roots was a timely one. Forty-eight years for
me, and approximately the same for my wife Michelle whom I met and married in
. We were both born on the small
of Rhodes but never knew of each other until we became neighbours in Baynes
Street West End, south of the
. Michelle was born in Rhodes, the capital city, which in turn is the capital of
the group of twelve islands called the
. I was born in Asklipio, one of 44 small villages on the island. Michelle can
therefore claim a more aristocratic birthplace while I can only claim to be of
A passage of
48 years is a lifetime in anybody’s language. We expected to see changes yes,
but to experience what we did was quite moving and, at times, extraordinary. The
delayed re-acquaintance with our roots was inadvertently brought about by three
main reasons; the ill-health and subsequent early deaths of my parents,
children’s milestones, and of course the financial one.
died at the early age of 47 of cervical cancer and my father at age 63 of heart
disease. Illness prior to their deaths prevented a normal life for my two young
sisters and me. It was certainly no time for a holiday, any holiday, let alone
children were quite ‘inconveniently’ spaced so the milestones in their young
lives had to be catered for carefully in order to prevent irreparable disruption
to their education, their vocational training and subsequent choice of career.
Financing a visit to our birthplace would have been a disaster seeing we had a
growing family completely dependent on us. Especially on me who was the sole
breadwinner, insisting on being so, as I did not believe, and still do not, that
a mother should be away from her growing children before they reach primary
As it turned
out, we still had to leave our youngest at home in Australia to live safely with
her now married brother and sister, having decided we could no longer wait for
her to be married, otherwise we would end up being too old to enjoy a decent
We bit the
bullet and decided to spend 3 months or so away. Approximately two and a half
months would be spent in
and Rhodes and we would do a 20-day tour of
prior to visiting our Greek roots for the first time in 48 years.
marked the end of our 20-day
European tour. At
we suffered a long and restless wait because our flight to
was delayed three hours. As recompense, Virgin Atlantic issued us with an
evening meal voucher with which we decided to acquire genuine English fish and
chips. The meal did not go down too well as the fish was tasteless and the chips
looked and tasted old. With queasy stomachs we boarded the flight and sat in our
allocated seats unable to do justice to the airline food.
we were subjected to our first rip-off; not as big as one of the many yet to
come but a rip-off just the same. A taxi-driver overcharged us at least A$3 for
a drive to the domestic terminal for our 40-minute flight to
. This rip-off merchant seemed a nice enough guy prior to the misdemeanour
taking place. He spoke as if we were his friends, talking freely about
where he said he once lived. He was a courteous, friendly fellow. Because of
his manner we did not think for one moment to question his fare until we
compared the fare with a fellow traveller later. A friend would not rob you. The
manner of a con man, obviously.
We had trouble getting
onto another flight for Rhodes because of the previous delay in
, courtesy of Virgin Atlantic. I panicked a little and went everywhere, rang
everyone possible, to try getting onto another flight so we would not have to
have an overnight stay in
. We planned to have a three-day
stopover on our way back to
. Surely there must be plenty of other flights if
is only 40 minutes away, I thought. The booking clerk put our names down on the
waiting list in case of cancellations, but did not sound too confident that we
would be able to get onto a flight that day. So I went seeking the manager of
the domestic terminal who was very polite, understanding but quite inefficient.
I imagined that it would only mean one phone call and we would be on the next
flight. After three calls she was unsuccessful, so I left her and tried to ring
Virgin Airlines to tell them of the inconvenience they caused us because of the
delay we had to suffer in
. Again I wrongly imagined they would use their influence to help us obtain a
. No go! Could not even raise them on the phone. All the panic, the phone calls,
the interview with the manager were to no avail and need not have been gone
through because on our going back to the booking clerk she was able to tell us
of our 10.30am booking. I could have kissed her! She obviously feared as much
because as she ticked off our names she drew back a bit – perhaps I had bad
breath at the time but she certainly was not in the kissing mood. She looked as
if she had had a tiring day already and it was only 9.00am. Lord knows when she
started her shift.
The 10.30am flight was
chopped and changed a bit. It was supposedly delayed till 11.30am, but we left
at 10. 30am; dead on schedule. Lucky I returned to the departure lounge when I
did because I was wandering around the airport killing time. Only by chance did
I return to find Michelle was lined up ready to board. She was not in a state of
panic either; she was lined up calmly waiting her turn to have the tickets
checked. I wonder to this day if she would have boarded without me.
I must ask her one day.
was uneventful. We did not see or remember much of it as we slept most of the
time. An orange juice was all we saw of the refreshments. The flight attendants
were putting things away as we awakened and were not too pleased when we made a
last minute grab for a drink.
is a very busy, but small place,
busy because this was peak tourist season. Like most airports it is served with
a good supply of taxis. We obtained one whose driver stuffed two lots of luggage
and passengers into his Mercedes. He thus procured two full fares into
; quite legal I believe. He was helpful and courteous though, and found us a
place to stay at a reasonable price. 6,000 drachmas we were told, but later we
were pleasantly surprised to find we had to pay only 4,000 drachmas per day.
’s accommodation prices, that is cheap! A$22.00 per day! The first place the
taxi driver took us to was deserted so he just backed his cab up the same street
a little to a place called ‘Emerald’. Rather reminded us of a town in
bearing the same name. It was owned by an American Greek and run by an elderly,
inefficient Greek manager who promised much in the form of services but
We settled in,
somewhat, but could not wait to take a bus into
itself to at last revive and try to recall our Greek roots and childhood after
48 years! I personally found my memory had dimmed quite a lot as we gazed at
buildings and places, which at first produced only a glimmer of recognition.
Things were to improve later though.
We had our first full
meal at Mandraki. Mandraki is sometimes referred to as the New Market Nea
Agora as opposed to the Old Market Balia Agora, which is situated in
the ancient, more interesting part of
is where Michelle lived and where I sometimes lived when my business-minded
father decreed we should, to suit his sometimes-on sometimes-off business
commitments. The meal was good, cheap and filling. For about A$26 we both
adequately filled our bellies.
Dealing with Greek
banks was a thing that lay heavily on our minds. There was just on A$4,000 in a
bank account which my deceased father left me and which had been sitting there
since about 1980. We tried to transfer the money to an account in
a few times but to no avail. Even the efforts of the biggest bank in
failed, so the money just sat there, thankfully gaining interest. We feared
going along and claiming it because we heard from one of my sisters in Brisbane,
who had already claimed her share and spent it in
the last time she was there, that the bankers are none too gentle with
customers, especially those from overseas. They try to fob you off and make life
generally difficult, she told us – especially if you are trying to
‘withdraw’ money. We had no such trouble. We made the withdrawal easily,
even though I was prepared for the worst. I had brought along all sorts of legal
documents to help facilitate the withdrawal and the closure of the account. One
of the difficulties I expected to have to confront was the surname. In
we use a different surname from the one that exists in
. The anomaly occurred because our sponsors as migrants to
registered us by the original family name rather than the present surname which
‘evolved’ through our family’s history later.
‘evolved’ name, is still regarded as such in
. That is why there are such a lot of Greeks named Papas; much easier to handle
and spell. The two surnames did not bother the bank teller although I was
prepared to show her documents from the Greek Consulate in
that I was one and the same person. She did not want to view them. Needless to
say the money came in very handy. Naturally the withdrawal was given to us in
drachmas, so exchanging money was not something we had to do nor would we lose
When I said sponsored
, I did not mean the kind of sponsoring migrants got later. Today a migrant is
well looked after financially and is helped to settle with the minimum of fuss
or hardship by the Australian Government. In our day as migrants it was much
more difficult and the Government much less helpful.
There was no such
thing as a ‘sponsored’ migrant as became common later. A potential migrant
was obliged to finance his own fares. My father spent the first six years of our
paying off our fares. As we came to
as a family of four an addition to the family came later, there was quite a sum
to pay off. I helped by selling newspapers after school, not for pocket money
but to help my dad with repayments and day-to-day living expenses. I could not
even speak English but soon managed to learn to call as newspaper boys used to,
‘Paper! Tele! City Final! Casket Classified!’
I also learned to
speak the language very quickly having been thrown in at the deep end. In six to
nine months I was quite fluent. Of course I had the advantage of being young.
Young children tend to pick up an adopted language rather quickly.
My newspaper boss was
rather proud of me, especially the one in
where I first started to sell the daily afternoon paper. In
I was a newsboy all through my primary and secondary schooling, having been
promoted to ‘foreman’ when I reached the Junior Certificate year at high
school, year 10 today. Being a foreman or foreboy meant I had the responsibility
of telling 10 newsboys and 2 men-sellers where to sell their papers. At the end
of the night or afternoon, it was also my responsibility to have them ‘pay
in’ as we called it. They would give me the money they collected from selling
the newspapers and I would give them back so much for every dozen they had sold.
In those days a newsboy would earn a half penny (about half a cent) per paper.
It may seem little recompense but a penny then could buy much more than it could
my 12 employees paid in I would then hand the entire proceeds to the ‘big
boss’, a man in charge of a part of the inner city. Most boys, and of course
the men, who worked for me used their earnings as pocket money. The best time to
sell newspapers in
was on Saturday night. Then one could earn a whole penny per newspaper. We
would begin selling the Sunday papers at 10.00pm and finish around 1.00am. We
would then begin the trek home to West End over the old steel
and home to where most Greek migrant children lived. We never encountered any
problems going home so late, young as we were, and dark and unlit as the park
The two men who worked
for me were paedophiles. They worked at selling newspapers possibly for the easy
access to young boys. These men and their hangers-on did quite well for
themselves purchasing the company of young boys with cash inducements.
One notable chap of
that ilk was
; I found him to be a very interesting character. A man with a beautiful tenor
voice and a very keen sense of humour. He was lead singer in the choir at a
little chapel that used to be in
near the Theatre Royal where the late George Wallace performed. His voice was
much sought after, by the chapel choir especially seeing
could sing all that was required in Latin.
wanted me! He knew he could not have me and that really cut him up, especially
as he was untruthfully told by a homosexual hanger-on that I was available and
that he had ‘gammarooshed’ me, to use a popular word going around in those
days, which today means oral intercourse, male to male.
One Saturday night
after I had finished selling the Sunday papers, by then I sold only on Saturday
night, I was on my way home and as I passed by the old treasury, now a casino, I
saw Chester sitting high up on one of the many steps leading to the main
entrance of the building. I looked up at this likeable soul and noticed that he
was quite drunk. Not unusual for
because he was an alcoholic who often went on a drinking binge. What was
unusual was that he was crying. Tears were streaming from his eyes. I called
from below, “What’s wrong
?” He did not tell me. All he said was, “Manuel, why don’t you let me take
you home?” I told him that I was not that sort of boy, whereupon he told me
that he had heard otherwise. I put him straight by telling him it was all a big
lie and that his homosexual friend had not been anywhere near me. That seemed to
sober him up and the tears ceased to flow. I left him on the treasury steps and
continued to walk home, all the time looking over my shoulder to see if he was
The next day a
told me that he ‘got even’ with the perpetrator of the lie about me. What
he meant by ‘got even’ I do not to this day know, but I have hazarded a few
guesses, all of which have to do with paedophilia.
wore a white pith helmet, which was
always kept immaculately clean. One night I saw it looming round the corner of a
bank where I was selling the Sunday papers. He had been drinking again and it
was the first time I had seen him violently drunk. Usually he was a friendly
drunk; too friendly at times. He was angry; angry with me. I thought for a
moment that I was to have to bear another of his sex-related complaints but it
was not to be. He was angry because I had not given him a good ‘stand’ from
which to sell the afternoon edition of The Telegraph the week before. He lurched
at me with a fist, missed his mark and walked quickly on down
. I hurriedly took off my leather coin bag, threw it onto my bundle of
newspapers and gave chase. I was angry too. I caught up with him near a
chemist’s window, took a few swipes at him, missed, and then pushed him via
his ample beer belly nearly through the shop’s window. He ran off as best he
could and I walked back to my bundle of unsold papers. The coin bag was missing!
I was quite shaken and doubly upset. The next day it was a different
I saw. He was sober, clean, friendly and courteous and with his usual dry wit
said to me, “You couldn’t fight your way out of a wet paper bag.” He was
probably right. That was
, the alcoholic paedophile.
My stolen leather coin
bag, of which I was proud and which I lovingly polished with brown shoe polish,
was never recovered. I reported it to the
police who interviewed me on the theft. They questioned me at length on its
disappearance. At the end of the interrogation I stormed out the police station
angry at their preposterous insinuation that I had stolen my own coin bag and
was reporting it to gain sympathy or get some unclaimed money out of them. Their
clever and practised questioning got me so tangled up they had me admitting that
I had faked its loss. Needless to say my opinion of some police took a nosedive
at that point in time.
was not the only
alcoholic/homosexual with whom I worked. After I had graduated from the
newspaper business, I took on casual work, any kind of work that became
available, mostly to finance further study and to a now lesser degree help my
father make ends meet a little more easily. One of the many jobs I took on and
one which brought me in contact with two more alco/homos was as a civilian
employee with the army at Greenbank military
. Here and at other camps I used to obtain work of three weeks duration living
in tents whilst on the job.
How I was able to
purchase a second-hand Holden, one of the first models ever put out by GMH, was
quite something, because not many of my peer group owned or could afford a car.
‘Probably the Papavasiliou frugality trait coming to the fore here.’ It was
a black sedan, which had the lock on the front passenger side rather than on the
driver’s side, the vehicle having been designed in the
for American (left hand side of car) drivers. The manufacturers remembered the
steering wheel, with the gear lever on the steering column, to suit Australians
but forgot about the locking system. It was rectified with later model Holdens,
and I was the owner of a second-hand one of those too. It was my pride and joy
and I used it to get to work if it was necessary. It was not really necessary to
use it to get to Greenbank because the army always provided transport for its
civilian employees. All they had to do was get themselves to, in this instance,
Kelvin Grove Barracks, a stone’s throw from the centre of the city of
, and the army did the rest. I used the car because it gave me freedom of
movement; freedom to get back to
whenever I had time off. It was especially handy in the evenings when I felt
like going to a dance or a movie to see a ‘film’ as we called it in those
Unfortunately word got
around that I had a vehicle at my disposal and on a couple of occasions I was
offered a share in some ill-gotten gains, gains obtained from the army
illegally. One gent offered to stuff the boot of my Holden with army blankets
for delivery to
. It was the same gent who took me into the butcher shop at the camp where a
civilian butcher was cutting up meat and throwing it into a barrel, which had a
false bottom. The false bottom contained army rifles and ammunition destined, I
assumed, for the black market. He was into every thing, that guy, but I refused
him the use of my Holden’s boot stating that I valued my job at present, and
jobs in the future as a civilian employee.
On one stint as an
employee of the army at Greenbank, (I also did stints at other camps) I drove to
Kelvin Grove Barracks to report for duty. There I told the officer in charge
that I would be driving myself to Greenbank. On hearing this Tom, with whom I
had previously worked at Greenbank, offered to keep me company on the hour-long
drive. I accepted his offer and soon we set off for the camp about twenty
minutes before the trucks with other civilian employees. On the way Tom and I
conversed amicably until I noticed an appreciable change in Tom’s demeanour.
On looking at him I noticed his face was pale, he had profuse beads of sweat
coming from his forehead, his eyes were bulging and he had the shakes. On my
asking him what was the matter he said he needed a drink badly. Not water or
soft drink but a beer or some other alcoholic beverage. I told him I had no
liquid refreshment of any kind with me whereupon he put his hand in his pocket
to retrieve some money. He offered me all the money he possessed, which was not
very much, if I would drive him to the nearby Jimboomba pub, which was on the
way to Greenbank Camp. I told him that it would not be wise as we would be late
for work. He pleaded with me and I had to accede to his pleadings because by now
he was in a sorry state. The shakes had become worse, his eyes were nearly
popping out of their sockets, and he perspired more profusely. So, we detoured
slightly and drove and drove and drove, but a pub was nowhere to be seen nor did
we seem to be getting closer to one as there were no signs of civilisation
looming. The further we drove the more bush we encountered and the further away
from our job site we were getting. ‘That hotel will never appear’, I thought
and I told Tom I was not prepared to drive any further. He was in near hysterics
by now, worse when I told him of my plan to get back on track to the camp.
We arrived there a
little late, were forgiven, and allocated our duties. Tom was given the duties
of batman and I the duties of steward in the officers’ mess. Tom was an
alcoholic all right. This was proved to me very vividly by his desperate need
for a drink. However, not once did he show any sign of asserting his homosexual
leanings as we travelled together in my black Holden sedan. I half expected him
to put the hard word on me and was prepared for it but he did not. Is it any
wonder? The poor man was grappling with another more urgent call, a call far
stronger than any sexual desire he may have harboured.
Tom was not seen for a
day or two after we were assigned our duties. Whether he carried out his duties
during those days I am not sure, but what I am sure of is that Tom went through
a ‘drying off’ period. When he had finished drying out, he was back, bright
as a button, full of humour and homosexual mischief, and very, very good at his
job. He was renowned for his ability as a batman and army officers were known to
vie for Tom’s services whenever he hit a military camp.
Tom offered to show me
the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of being a good batman in his tent on many a balmy
night but I declined because the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ he had in mind were
not the kind I wished to experience. However, it was rumoured, Tom did organise
certain educational activities of the kind some permanent army officers were
particularly partial to.
Excuse me for digressing as you
will find I am often prone to do. Back to paying our fare to
and the so-called sponsored migration scheme of the 1950s. The only thing our
relatives had to do in sponsoring us was to guarantee that we would have a roof
over our heads and a place to work. The rest was up to us. A roof over our heads
was quite easy to come by as our relatives provided one at low cost.
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