Garvin Brown ( Queensland, Australia)
My name is Garvin Brown and I was born on the 9th of May 1928 in Wanganui, New Zealand.
In around 1932 we moved onto a small dairy farm in a place called kohi leased to my father for probably minimum cost because he had served overseas in the New Zealand army for over 4 years during what is called the First World War. He also served in Gallipoli.
The years we spent on this farm were very happy days for me as I had a small pony and lots of love. This period was during the great depression which swept the world in 1929. My father worked very hard on our farm as it had been in a very run down position when we moved on to it and it needed a lot a labour to bring it up to standard.
My father told me to always tell the truth no matter what that truth was and even if what I had done was not good he would not punish me providing I told him the truth about what I had done.
I can also remember my father and mother talking about the little children in China who had nothing to eat and who was starving. This stayed in my memory.
I can remember during those depression days thnking to myself what will I do if anything happens to Mum or Dad because I won’t be able to repay the debt that we owed to the grocer.
In around 1937 we left the farm when my father took a job with the Post Office in a place called Levin where we lived for around 18 months. In early 1939 my father was asked to rejoin the permanent army, which he did and from this he volunteered to go to the 2nd world war. He served around 3 years before he returned to New Zealand.
I finished my schooling in 1946 when I matriculated. I was not a very good student but I loved sport.
I started work in an accounts office, and from 1947 to 1950 I had several ( for me) uninterested jobs.
I wanted to travel to see places like China but the cost of travel in those days was prohibitive. In August of 1950 The United Nations asked New Zealand for volunteers to join the UN forces in Korea, so I join the army and went to Korea. It was in Korea that I first saw with my own eyes the madness and sadness of violence. I returned to New Zealand in 1952 and resumed my office working.
I was still unsettled and moved to Australia for a year and then back to New Zealand until in 1960 I finally moved to Australia permanently where I now reside on Gold Coast of Queensland.
When I was young I can remember hearing on our small radio about Mahatma Gandhi and the work he was doing for the poor and underprivileged and later I saw him in Newsreels at the Movies.
In the early 1940’s I picked up a paperback book from an alternative bookshop by Louis Fisher “ Gandhi His life and message for the world”.
This book brought back all my memries of my early years and I found mtself unable to put the book down it went straight to my heart. From that book I went to Tolstoy’s the kingdom of God is within you and books written by Henry David Thoreau and many others. It was a turning point for me, but you know I then went through many years of TALKING about Gandhi and it wasn’t until November of 2003 that I had the guts to Do something. I organised a Mahatma Gandhi Awareness day on the Gold Coast at which around 90 people attended. ( I was assisted by an Indian lady).
Then in March of 2005 I participated in the 75th anniversary of the Dandi Yatra. Then a friend of mine sent me a copy of a story in “ Outlook Magazine” about a man called Uttam Teron of Parijat Academy who had started a school in his own home for underprivileged children from surrounding villages. I contacted Uttam and we have since that date become very close friends.
Iam walking in India for underprivileged children and world peace to endeavor to ( as Gandhi would put it) enter the hearts and minds and conscience of people to hopefully bring about change in their outlook.
In our world according to statistics there are 28 thousand little children under age 5 who die needlessly each day because of our inaction.
I have no idea what I can achieve but I know so well that my conscience will never be at ease until I do something positive for the suffering millions.
Presently I am walking every day ( rain excepted ) and am averaging around 1000 k’s per week.
I remember well Gandhi’s words “ We must step down from our pedestals and go and live with the people who are suffering and experience their hardships and sorrows.
Mahatma Gandhi Awareness