The language learner

a bank of lights

shining a light on the Neighbors podcast

It’s been tough choosing the first episode to review in this podlike series. In the end I was swayed by some of what’s been happening recently in Australia.

Most good podcasts invade your thoughts through sheer physical closeness. Their words feel as if they reside beside your brain, if not inside it. Neighbors is one of these. The storytelling is close and personal.

The episode the language learner dropped into my podcast feed around the time there was an incoherent verbal attack on refugees. The attack was ridiculous, contrary to evidence and completely lacking in humanity.

This episode of Neighbors spoke to me. It is a deft and warm example of how storytelling can bring us close to the real humanity of an individual. When Jacob Lewis speaks with Gin Thawng, a 66-year old refugee from Burma, their connection is immediate and clear.

Gin and I did connect. And it’s because we do share the same language: presence.

This story is a timely reminder that literacy and refugees is an important issue. And what matters is how people are treated; with humanity and heart.