REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: These are just some of the sweetest moments in the sourest of years

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Clockwise: The Deng family; Captain Dan Montelli; Namita Mittal and Tarun Jain and family.

Clockwise: The Deng family; Captain Dan Montelli; Namita Mittal and Tarun Jain and family.

Memories of a terrible 2020 linger - but it wasn't all bad.

There were moments - like when the rains came and the aerial firefighter thought, "Now, I'll be going home".

A refugee from war lay on the ultra-scan couch in Canberra Hospital to be told, "It's a girl" to join her five boys.

A doctor in the same hospital who worked through the epidemic was overjoyed when her twins were born to "complete my family".

The aerial firefighter

Captain Dan Montelli spent the fire season flying the giant Air Tanker 912 out from Canberra over the fires raging across the region.

His sweet moment was when the rains came. "It meant I could get home and see my wife and kids," he said. "The last month I was there in Canberra, all the rains came at once.

"The day previously, we had catastrophic fires and then, overnight, we had rain, so as a firefighter, seeing the rains come was my big moment of joy."

Captain Montelli lives in California so he alternates between fire seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres. The gap between them is shrinking so he was only home for two-and-a-half weeks before work began again.

The refugee family

The Deng family lived for 17 years in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya before coming to Australia.

It was bleak but not as bleak as Sudan from which they fled as it descended into bloody anarchy. The father and mother, Malual and Dabora, met in the camp and four of their five boys were born there.

For them, Canberra is bliss.

The oldest boy, Deng, has just won a bursary to Marist College after he leaves Namadgi College after year 7. The $15,000 pays for sports gear, a laptop and all the school equipment the family could never have afforded.

The father, Malual, works as a labourer on construction sites. He gets a text at 5pm to tell him where he needs to be at 6am for work the next day. No text, no work.

The mother Dabora is overjoyed she is having a girl after five boys. Her moment of joy was when the nurse told her after the ultrasound scan.

The doctors

Namita Mittal and her husband, Tarun Jain, are both doctors at Canberra Hospital. She is a pathologist and he is a radiologist, so they were in the front-line as the coronavirus was beaten back.

For them, the moment of joy was the birth of the twins on August 13.

"It was what I wanted," Dr Mittal said. "I wanted to complete my family."

But COVID-19 also coloured the joy. When their daughter was born 11 years ago, Dr Mittal's mother was there to support and help. But this time, the twins' grandmother was confined to India.

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