Helping hand for backpackers

Daryna ZadvirnaAlbany Advertiser
Backpacker Marine Dilmi with hosts Campbell and Jane.
Camera IconBackpacker Marine Dilmi with hosts Campbell and Jane. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

An Albany family has hopped on a nationwide goodwill initiative and adopted a pair of backpackers.

Jane — who did not want to be identified — her husband and their three children are among hundreds of families across Australia who have opened their doors to overseas travellers stranded during the coronavirus crisis.

French couple Marine Dilmi, 24, and Kenny Quenette, 28, came to Australia in October on a working-holiday visa, but soon found themselves with no work and nowhere to go.

“We were told by the camp ranger in Hopetoun that we needed to move that same day as he would be closing the (camp),” Ms Dilmi said.

“This is when we got worried.”

Ms Dilmi joined an online page Adopt a Backpacker WA — created in different States to help connect backpackers with those offering refuge — and it was not long until Jane answered her call.

“There was so many scared travellers with no way of going home but also nowhere to stay,” Jane said.

“It was just as I lost work, and schools announced they would be online for a while.

“I thought having help with the kids would also be nice, and great for them to see that showing kindness to people in need is something that is so important in society.”

Ms Dilmi and her boyfriend were invited to set up a camp in the Middleton Beach family’s yard.

“We feel very lucky — not being worried about a toilet or shower, or finding places to charge batteries and power for our things is a big relief,” Ms Dilmi said.

Jane said what her family was offering did not feel like much, but it was a rewarding experience.

“At first, it is strange as you are deciding to trust people you don't know but we were happy to know that Kenny and Marine had been in a camping isolation,” she said.

“We realised they were genuine people that we could help and we have enjoyed their company.

“Marine has cooked French crepes, baked cakes and made traditional chocolate mousse for the children.

“And at Easter, we put the tent in the backyard so the kids could camp as well.

“It has been a great time and I know the kids will be sad when they do leave us to finish off their Australian trip.”

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