Irene Mutune is a Kenyan native who made the move to Armadale with her family in 2018, she told her story in the Humans of Armadale, a book developed by the City of Armadale to provide insight into the area’s community.
“Moving to Australia was both a positive and negative change,” Mrs Mutune said.
“The reason we came to Australia was to get a better future for our children, we believe Australia is providing them with opportunities they need to better their lives.
“However, moving here has sort of displaced us from our culture, and our relatives and to that end it’s not as positive.”
In the telling of her journey moving to Perth, Mrs Mutune explained an incident with a neighbour in Armadale who racially vilified her family.
“Traumatised cannot begin to explain the mixed emotions I felt,” she said.
“I felt helpless because I couldn’t protect my kids.
“I could see the despair in my husband’s eyes after the incident.
“We had to move house.
“I choose to forget this outright racist experience, I choose to forget several other subtle racist comments and experiences as I keep my eye on the prize.
“I want a brighter future for my two children and that is why we moved to Australia.”
Despite feeling displaced from her home, Mrs Mutune is still trying to find a community that fits with her in Perth.
“We’re still trying to find the right fit, I’m not in the habit of finding community just for the sake of finding community,” she said.
“Some of the people that come from our country, I’m not entirely comfortable with their kind of thinking or lifestyle they live.
“But I’ve also found community in people who I did not think would be that to me, so community for me doesn’t necessarily mean the African-Kenyan community living in Australia.
“It also means I’ve had people who have shown me friendship, who have extended their time, who have shown me love aside from the Kenyan community.
“I like the Kenyan community values and that communication because when we communicate it’s using our language and I would like for my kids to see that but I wouldn’t say I’ve found the right fit yet.
“You cannot devote what you don’t have, so if your cup is half full you cannot give out something positive so you have to ensure you’re completely full so that you’re able to outpour love, blessings and guidance, all those beautiful things.”
City of Armadale Mayor Ruth Butterfield said the famous and longstanding Humans of New York project inspired the Humans of Armadale.
“What you don’t see when you Google Armadale, is a city full of people from different life experiences, the journeys that have led them here, the strength it took for them to overcome obstacles, and the lessons they have to share.”
“Humans of Armadale has many community benefits from highlighting diversity in experience, culture and lifestyles of Armadale locals to creating a space where all residents are valued, irrespective of their background, work, and other demographics. It’s fantastic to see the way the project has been embraced by the community, and the positive effect it has had on those who’ve been involved.”