RUTH EYAKEM

FLEMINGTON SISTERS

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Photos by Deshani Berhardt (Wild Hardt).

“My name is Ruth Eyakem. I was born and raised in Ethiopia but I am from Eritrea. I came to live in Australia 28 years ago because of war in my home country, to look for a better life.

I live in the Flemington high rise with my lovely daughter. We speak English and Arabic. I love cooking, my job is waitressing and I love hosting and serving people.

I chose to be part of Shelter 2 because the hard lockdown was very stressful and I wanted to share how I passed through that time. When I first heard about the 5 day lockdown on the news I went quickly to buy medication that I need for stress and anxiety. I had none left at home but they would not let me out of the building and said they would bring us everything we needed. It never came and that was hard for me.

But I had my traditional coffee ceremony and this became so important. During the lockdown I did it everyday with my daughter. It helped me pass the time, helped to calm my nerves. It gave me a good feeling of having my friends and family around me and kept me calm. My coffee ceremony was my medicine.”

Filmed and edited by Sneha Varma.

Ruth is available to perform the East African Coffee Ceremony. To enquire or book, please call 0401 251 873 or email ruthrutha29@gmail.com.

Ruth Eyakem has shared her story as part of the Flemington Sisters project for Shelter 2.

Shelter 2 is proudly supported by VicHealth, Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne and Australia Council for the Arts.