Tag Archives: helping

Inside my parents’ house is a Blue House

Inside my parents’ house is a Blue House

by James Arthur Warren 1english1@gmail.com

2nd of January 2015

What is the metaphor of the Blue House Free School?

In January 2005, I got separated from my first wife, began teaching English as a Second Language and moved into the first home that came to be called James Blue House. My ‘new’ home was a very old dirty small workers cottage in South Brisbane. The deserting junkies had trashed the place so I offered to clean and paint the interior and the owner gave me cheap rent in return.

I was alone and broke so I filled my home with international students and travelers who eased my loneliness and helped me pay the rent. My landlord told me how he had come to this home when he arrived from Greece in 1969 and how it had been a halfway house for many migrants. I resolved that I would continue to show the same hospitality to all people that came to my door.

At the end of the first year my landlord’s adjoining property came for rent and he offered it to me to manage for him. This second house, also blue, was to become my second James Blue House. There were dinners and parties at the James Blue Houses, big loud parties with fires blazing, reggae music booming, BBQ s burning and happy people all meeting to chat and share their experience as migrants or travelers.

After 2 years, I married again and didn’t want the hassle of sub letting rooms all the time so  we passed on the lease to some friends so that they could also benefit.

Living in the second James Blue House, I started teaching migrants and refugees at TAFE so I separated my work and social life, no more organizing student parties. I would go to work and come home but the dream of opening my own school was building. How could I possibly have the time or energy to make a school with two boys and a third on the way? The couch in my home was much too comfortable.

Suddenly in 2011, I was again a single dad but now with 3 sons shared 50:50. I was working hard but my pay wasn’t increasing. I still wanted to have my own free school and often wondered how I would do it and what I would teach. I told my partner I wanted to make a free school and she laughed it off as a ridiculous notion. Our relationship ended soon after and I had time for myself to do what I wanted. I started planning free classes.

I held my first free classes on the beach at Stradbroke Island during a holiday with my sons. I taught the five Tibetan Rites of rejuvenation and Quantum Pause Breathing because they have both changed my life and I know many people can benefit from them.

On the 8th of November I held another class in a basement in South Brisbane 3 for local residents. One afternoon I arrived home from work and met an Iranian couple, a taxi driver and teacher, who were speaking with my neighbour. I invited them in for tea. They came here for freedom from an oppressive regime in Iran,  so their children could grow up free. I discovered they are in community detention, get no income support, aren’t allowed to work and only get a few hours of English classes. They are in Australia but not free. These are the kind of people that need free school.

Then on the 27th of November 2014, the roof blew off the second James Blue House in a freak supercell storm. My two oldest sons were home at the time but fortunately were not injured. What were we to do with 10 years of accumulated stuff and nowhere to put it? I need a new Blue House, I have to make a free school. A travelling free school? A double decker bus became my focus, I could live in it and teach from it. I could take free education where it is most needed. How could I get it now I was homeless?

In my parents’ house, we found refuge. My parents offered me a place to put my family. On New Years Day 2015, I awoke sober as I didn’t drink the night before but I still had a huge headache. I started cleaning my parents’ house, vacuuming, mopping, wiping window sills and  cleaning the grime from the oven. I nurtured the garden, planted lawn seed, weeded, pruned and planted flower seeds. I set myself to doing these tasks as if I were Da Vinci painting a masterpiece. It was the least I could do to thank my parents for giving me life and at 44 years old, refuge, when I most needed it. While I was cleaning, I was thinking through what would be my next step to get my free school happening.

Today, while cleaning in my parents’ house I got a phone call. Confirmation to purchase a double decker bus. Now I have to find the money. You can help by donating to James Blue House Free School Bus  at Gofundme

What is the metaphor? Inside my parents house is a Blue House. My parents, both teachers created me in their house.Their house is the universe and in my parents house is a Free Blue House we call Earth or Gaia. The Universe supports Gaia, who provides everything we need for free. Gaia doesn’t charge a fee or interest rate and Gaia loves it when you nurture her. Like our planet Earth, Gaia, James Blue House Free School doesn’t charge any fees and operates on good will and your donations.

Welcome to the Freeconomy.

Each one must teach one. One Love

James

One hand washes the other hand and together they wash the face

by James Arthur Warren 31 December 2014

I want to tell you about Marietta my neighbour, she’s twice my age, I’m 44. We met ten years ago when I discovered her in my garden picking grape vine  leaves to make dolmades. She told me her name was Maria but her real name is Marietta, which I always use. I said my name’s James but she’s called me Davi ever since! She came back later and gave me a bowl of  her delicious homemade dolmades and that  mutual giving between the two of us has continued for 10 years.

Marietta came to Australia as a 19 year old from Greece, post WW2 after it had been occupied by the Italians. She’d learnt Italian during the war. She arrived in Australia, married had a daughter and then was widowed when her daughter was young.

Marietta found herself work while her daughter was cared for by another woman because there was no child care around at the time. Marietta learnt to speak English but never learnt to read or write it.

There were no free classes she could go to. She had no time  as she worked hard to survive.

Marietta making dolmades

Marietta got married a second time and had a son and now has great-grandchildren too. Her family visit most weekends and during the week Marietta can be seen tending her beautiful garden with roses, hippeastrums, lilies but also beans, okra and  spinach to name a few.

We call out good morning across the road, often at 5.30am as we’re both early risers, watering our gardens or when I’m going to do some sport. But the most important thing about our relationship is that is about giving to, supporting and loving your neighbour. I give her pawpaw and she returns with beans, I give her bananas, she gives me pasta for dinner for my family, I give her eggs from my chickens and she gives me biscuits for my coffee, I  jump start her car and call the RACQ for her, she keeps an  eye on my kids and home when I’m away. I read letters for her.

Marietta tells people I’m like a son and  I tell people about how amazing she is.

Yesterday I mowed her lawn, its growing so fast now it’s summer. After I  finished  we were having an orange juice and Marietta  said for the first time ever, “do you want money?”

Of course I said, “No, it’s not about money it’s about helping each other and working together and loving your neighbour”.

Marietta replied “ Davi, in my country we have a saying, one hand washes the other hand and together they wash the face”

I went away with a plate of Marietta’s biscuits to dip in my coffee. The truth is that I do want money and help. I am just just one hand that wants  another hand to wash a face.

I know that if Marietta had had the opportunity she would have loved to learn to read and write English but like so many people who live in Australia the opportunity wasn’t there. That’s why I have started, James’ Blue House Free School, to take technological literacy to people and so people can find information that allows them to shape their destiny. Marietta doesn’t know what the internet is, she doesn’t have email, and facebook is outside her comprehension.

That’s why I am asking for  volunteer teachers for local English classes. That’s  also why I am asking for money so that I can buy and equip a double decker bus with learning technology to  take the concept of free school to remote areas where people don’t have easy access to education.

If you want to help this free education initiative, please donate at gofundme by going to James Blue House Free School Bus

I just went to the first Blue House, the place where I met Marietta,  to feed the chickens, collect  some eggs. While I was there. I picked some grape vine leaves and took the eggs and leaves over to Marietta, She was making dolmades and showed me how and told me the recipe.

She teaches me, I love her.

Each one must teach one. One Love

James

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Mariettas domades