A volunteer remembered: Mu Hai - Rosies

A volunteer remembered: Mu Hai

When Mu Hai showed up to a Rosies new volunteer training session with his friend (and interpreter), no one was sure what to expect. With the assistance of Mu’s friend, he completed the training and wanting to double check that he understood everything asked, ‘Do you understand?’ With a big smile on his face Mu replied ‘NO!’ and we shared a laugh. Through his friend I understood Mu wanted to join Rosies in order to give back to a country who had given him and his family so much. I wanted Mu to join my monthly Friday night team; there were a few teachers and I felt Mu would be able to easily learn English with the help of these team members.

Over the next few weeks I would receive calls from the Friday night team leaders asking who this man was that kept showing up to help – it was Mu. At first Mu didn’t understand that he was only rostered to help once a month, so he dutifully showed up every single Friday for six months. It was only then that the team could make him understand that he only needed to come monthly. At the end of his shift he simply smiled and said to me “Is it Ok if I go now teacher” as for him it was customary to call the person in charge teacher.

As I got to know Mu, his wife Roselyn, and one of his seven children, Priscilla, I learned he was born in 1951 in a small village in Myanmar (formerly Burma). He and Roselyn taught local children, along with their own, at the Karen Primary School in their village and in 1974 he became the pastor of the Baptist church. I was shocked when they told me that before coming to Australia, they (Mu & his family) fled the civil war in Myanmar and lived in a refugee camp for 15 years. Mu loved being a part of the team at Roises, according to Priscilla ‘It gave him great pleasure being a part of Rosies and giving back to the community’.

One night on outreach a patron turned up and Mu found out that they spoke the same language. They chatted happily all night and the patron later remarked that he (the patron) had not had a conversation with anyone for a long time and it made him feel good to speak with Mu. Sometimes something as small as a conversation between strangers can have a lasting impact on those who were involved.

Mu’s generosity of spirit didn’t stop with his work at Rosies. Mu had learned of a lady in his home village of Paheelu who needed a wheelchair and he wanted to do some fundraising so that he could buy her one. Mirri, a volunteer on his team, heard about his efforts and was due to go on a holiday; she rearranged her holiday dates so she could go via his village, she purchased the wheelchair herself, and personally delivered the wheelchair to the woman in need. Mu was so happy that he couldn’t stop smiling and was so grateful for the generosity of his fellow volunteer. It is gestures and acts of love like this that make those that share the spirit of Rosies so special.

Throughout his time with us Mu was a quiet, humble, loyal volunteer, with an infectious smile that never left his face. He never missed an outreach, until in 2019 when he started getting sick. At first he thought it was only pneumonia but it kept getting worse and eventually was diagnosed with lung cancer. He responded well to treatment at first and returned to his regular volunteering for a few months, but unfortunately the cancer came back. He started chemo and even though he was feeling poorly he always wanted to come back to his team at Rosies. I told him ‘that there would always be a spot on my team for him.’

I had the pleasure of being on the same team with Mu for many years, he was a lovely man, a generous spirit and will be sadly missed by patrons, volunteers, and everyone one whose life he touched.

From all of us at Rosies Logan, we love you and rest in peace.

– By Margaret Harvey