‘They’re overweight, depressed and spend money on trash’: Nurse’s scathing attack on Australians at Christmas – after a trip to Woolworths on her return from three decades in Ethiopia
- Australian nurse says it is upsetting to see people waste money on ‘trash’
- Valerie Browning in Australia after 26 years living and working in Ethiopia
- Ms Browning said she shook her head at what she saw at a supermarket
- ‘People fill up their carts with trivial items that won’t last,’ the nurse said
A nurse who spent almost three decades working with starving children in Ethiopia says it’s infuriating to see Australians throwing money away on ‘trash’ and ‘junk’ at Christmas.
Valerie Browning has been working and living with the Afar people – a nomadic group that lives mainly in the Horn of Africa – since 1973.
The 65-year-old nurse, who grew up in rural New South Wales, returned to Australia last month to spend time with her daughter Aisha said she shook her head at what she saw during a recent visit to Woolworths.
Australian nurse Valerie Browning (right) has spent almost three decades working with starving children in Ethiopia, and says it annoys her to see Australians throwing money away on ‘junk’ at Christmas
‘You see throngs of people filling up their carts with trivial items that won’t last,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘They are overweight, depressed and people force themselves to spend more money on things.
‘It’s frustrating, you wonder why people put all their money into something to just buy trash. Christmas has become about purchasing goods and that’s it.’
Ms Browning also said the problems with Australia’s over-commercialised society are most evident at Christmas, when millions flock to shopping centres and stores across the country.
Ms Browning (middle) is seen talking with a group of young children in Ethiopia, where she has worked and lived for 26 years
Valerie Browning and her husband, Ishmael, pose for a photo on a beach in Sydney during a visit to Australia
‘It’s as if there are two worlds on the planet now, and the differences are not lessening, they are increasing,’ Ms Browning (second left) said on the differences in society
Since moving to Ethiopia, the Australian has created a new family, marrying her husband Ishmael, an Afar clan leader, and adopting two sons – Rammid, 14, and Nabil, two.
However, the 65-year-old said she was saddened by the ways the country she once called home had changed.
‘The changes are overall changes in our world for the most part, but the biggest thing I’ve noticed in Australia and this world is an extraordinary sense of not understanding other parts of the world,’ Ms Browning told Daily Mail Australia.
‘From my side, where people are marginalised from the world, we don’t get a say in anything. We have to think again about how things work, people don’t see or understand how some many others live.
A group of young children sit in front of locals in the community where Ms Browning lives and works in Ethiopia
Hundreds of shoppers are seen outside Myer and David Jones in Melbourne, as people attempt to purchase gifts last-minute before Christmas
Valerie Browning said it was upsetting to see people buying ‘junk’ at supermarkets and stores in Australia before Christmas
‘It’s as if there are two worlds on the planet now, and the differences are not lessening, they are increasing. It’s becoming quite an extreme world.’
Ms Browning is in Australia to help raise funds for the Barbara May Foundation, which was named after her mother and supports her work in Africa to improve women’s health.
According to its website, the foundation, ‘aims to decrease the high incidence of women and babies who die or are injured during childbirth’ and to ‘provide a simple network of maternal health care in developing countries in Africa’.
As important as the trip home is to Ms Browning, both to raise funds for her work and to see her family, she still cannot wait to get back to her adopted land.
. Retailers are preparing for a rush of customers this week with over 50 percent of Australians planning to finish up Christmas shopping by Friday
A group of women walk ahead of two camels carrying goods and supplies for the local community in Ethiopia
A young girl is seen scooping water out of the ground in the community where Australian Valerie Browning lives
‘I prefer it there, in Africa. The lifestyle I lead has taken me away from the material life. I’ve learnt not to be impacted by that, the material world,’ she said
‘We have a balance problem, it isn’t don’t celebrate and share with people, but we need to do it in a better way.
‘We waste money on junk and other unnecessary things. A lot of people in the world can’t afford to just throw money up in the air.’
‘I don’t want to be a person judging anyone, but I have been privileged to see the flip-side of life and experience hunger and real need, it truly is a privilege.’
Ms Browning is in Australia to help raise funds for the Barbara May Foundation (pictured is a doctor for the foundation), which was named after her mother and supports her work in Africa to improve women’s health