A cup of tea and so much more

Social Bite Glasgow

Ewain Black is training and support worker at Social Bite in Glasgow, which will be running monthly Cup of Tea with a Refugee events on St Vincent Street from next month. Ewain tells us more...

When we think of the world’s greatest philosophers we don’t usually think of the recent Oscar winning actor Jackie Chan. The martial arts star of over 150 movies has never been given the same spiritual guru status as perhaps the other best known martial arts star in the west, Bruce Lee, and is seen more as having a greater action-comedy repertoire.

However in his 1995 film Rumble in the Bronx, the actor, known for his fighting ability, sends out a message of peace when he says:

“I hope next time when we meet, we won’t be fighting each other. Instead we will be drinking tea together.”

Drinking tea here then is a sign of friendship and trust.

The platform on which the current president of the US was elected, as well as the anti-immigration stance of some of the louder supporters of Brexit, alongside the west’s foreign policy in the areas from which refugees are fleeing could definitely give the impression that there is growing hostility in Western countries towards immigrants as well as refugees and asylum seekers.

This is not helped by the media, who often confuse the three and often exaggerate and fuel claims that people living in the UK are not sympathetic to what refugees are going through and do not want to help.

 If this was all you had to go on as an asylum seeker or refugee in Scotland then unfortunately, after already going through many ordeals, you might not feel welcome.

However, in my job I speak to a lot of people from all kinds of backgrounds and it’s my impression that the majority of people living in Scotland feel sympathy rather than hostility and want to do what they can to make refugees and asylum seekers feel as welcome as possible.

At Social Bite we are a drop off point for Refuweegee donations and were overwhelmed around Christmas with the generosity people had for their cause.

The Cup of Tea with a Refugee initiative is a great way for people living in Glasgow to be able to express the welcoming attitude that they have, find out more about what it means to be a refugee building a life in a new country, as well as enjoying the warmth and comfort of the cuppa that Mr Chan believed was the great symbol of friendship and trust.

Social Bite held a Cup of Tea with a Refugee event in November, which featured live music as well as tea from Tchai Ovna (a tea house in Glasgow’s West End that have the largest range of teas I’ve come across).

The event went well and feedback was good, we now want to repeat it on a monthly basis on the last Thursday of each month, starting on the 30th of March.

Tchai Ovna have said that they would like to remain on board and West College Scotland have partnered with us on other events to provide live music and would like to continue to do so.

Hopefully it will continue to be a welcoming and hospitable environment for people to come together informally and drink tea, have something to eat and enjoy each other’s company.

We are at 103 St. Vincent Street (only a few steps around the corner from Scottish Refugee Council) and will be running the events from 5pm to around 6.30-7pm.

We hope to see you there!

(1) Comments

  • Anonymous commenter
    17 February 2017, 12:33

    This is such a great idea. I listen to stories, massage arms which have been touched so cruelly, offer a corner and a HUG to asylum seekers at our Conversation Club. Much more goes on there, of course. I feel such a sense of urgency about the need to promote real understanding, to find the place where minds and hearts will be open. Where better than over a cup of tea?!! Brilliant!

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