Unwinding in front of the TV on Tuesday night, I found myself watching The Busiest Cities on ABC.TV – a revelatory picture of the life of Muscovites today.
45 minutes into the program I was gobsmacked to see before my eyes, images of the conception I had for Oasis at Flinders University some ten years ago – the same kind of images I see for an Oasis in the heart of Adelaide, with its 34,000 international students and culture of festivals that bring visitors to the city.
Please have a look! (4 minutes)
What these young people are offering is a true expression of the tradition of hospitality – making space for strangers to become friends. It’s what the world needs. And it is learnt through experience.
Some of the dialogue that I resonated with included:
- embracing the future yet drawing on the past
- it looks like a cafe, but it feels like someone’s apartment
- there’s no prices on food or drink*
- it’s difficult to explain…the whole idea of the place is big and deep
- longing for community and wanting strangers to become friends
- you can do whatever you want…but together
- I feel like I could live here
- you learn different things from different people
- it’s like being in someone’s living room
- I feel like I’ve been allowed in
- I feel like I’ve experienced something touching
- what an amazing place!
- and why not be able to sit with strangers?
- she has a global outlook
- it will spread to the rest of the country
*At Flinders, everything, including (limited) food/drink and salaries for two staff, was provided free to students, funded from student fees via the university administration.
I think an Oasis in the city could be funded by the city and the universities, with an initial aim of bringing together those living away from home – international students and visitors, and supported by volunteers and complementary organisations.
I could write a book expanding that dialogue!