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Podcast highlights for June : Benin, Tunisia and Israel

The recent podcast episodes involved one that was 11 months in the making, and another came together in a matter of days. Two of them involved blokes who are the only representatives of their countries in Tasmania, and I have referred to them as a the Ambassadors to Tasmania of Benin and Tunisia respectively.

One of the many things that I enjoy about doing the podcast is not only meeting new and interesting people, but also learning surprising facts and getting an insight into the worlds that my guests come from. For example, Oren mentioned that one of his grandfather's came from Bulgaria and spoke a language called Ladino, a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish, and spoken by Jews expelled from Spain after 1492.

Then there is Benin, which is probably one of the least known nations of Africa. However, it is known as the origin of Voodoo, and each year people from Brazil, USA, Haiti and elsewhere come to Benin for the Voodoo Festival.

One interesting thing that all three have in common is that their decisions to come to Tasmania where all influenced, directly or indirectly, by their partners. I don't know whether their are too many conclusions to draw from that, but it's been one of the biggest reasons for migrants to come, and to stay, in Tasmania.

OREN ( Israel)

This episode was a long time coming, with plenty of discussion and tooing and froing, not to mention some pretty major world events happening in the meantime. However, it was well worth it for such a story. There were certainly some major events I left out of this, as I realised a long time ago that it's not possible to tell a person's whole life story in such a podcast. However, I personally felt I got not only a better understanding of Oren as a person, but through his story got an insight into Israeli society and some of the pressures that individuals feel living with such a system. There themes of music and sound also come through strongly throughout Oren's story and serve as a bit of a metaphor to explain his journey to the peace of Tasmania and its natural landscapes.


I suppose many people will already be scratching their heads and asking "Where the hell is Benin ?". I knew very little about it before meeting Micheal, apart from where it was and that it was French-speaking. Although Micheal's story takes us to Nigeria, Ghana and Israel, perhaps the most remarkable part is his arrival in Hobart with very little money, knowing absolutely no one and with only temporary accommodation hastily-organised for his first month. His strategy for getting on his feet in the first month could be regarded as either absurd, gutsy and audacious. But as it worked, it could perhaps called ingenious ! I hope that Micheal settles down in Tasmania long-term, because he already has a heap of great stories to tell his grand-children.

AKRAM ( Tunisia)

The only Tunisian in Tasmania at the time of recording, Akram came to Tasmania with his Filipino wife just over a year ago. They'd been working at the same hotel in Qatar, where he'd worked for 10 years in public relations and events organising. He grew up in Tunis though with a lot of extended family, and after trying a few different jobs, discovered to pursue a career working in international hotels.

For more stories like these, consider following the podcast on Spotify ( also available on other platforms ). You can also follow the podcast on Facebook or Twitter/X.


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