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Photos by Deshani Berhardt (Wild Hardt).
CONVERSATIONS WITH LEILA ALI
Sound design and editing by POOKIE.
“My name is Leila Ali. Somalia is home and I’ve been living in Australia for 25 years. Before coming to live in Melbourne I was in Papua New Guinea for one year. PNG was nice but there was too much fighting. I like the peace here in Australia and it’s fair.
I keep busy with my work in Mum’s Kitchen in Moonee Valley cooking food for people in need and delivering the food to everyone. I have six children and still two are living at home.
The hard lockdown made me feel very scared and I spent a lot of time looking out my window and talking to my friends on the phone. I felt jealous when I looked outside and saw all the police and other people walking around. I felt like why am I stuck here and everyone else is outside.
During the lockdown I didn’t want the food that the government was bringing, my community looked after me and brought the halal foods. But I didn’t need food, I just needed air and to get outside again.
I wanted to be part of Shelter 2 because I like spending time with my friends. I am the only Somali woman in this team and I wanted to share my special dishes from my culture.”