By Coen Wilson and John Head

Derrick divides his life into three phases.

The first, his life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was thrown into turmoil when he was accused of supporting the wrong regime, arrested and tortured.

After learning of more attacks planned for him, he fled to Malawi with his family and started his second life - that of a refugee.

Derrick was frustrated with the unfulfilling and aid dependent life in the camp.

He wrote hundreds of letters to the UNHCR requesting assistance to relocate his family to a safe country and was eventually accepted to emigrate to Shepparton.

With this began his third life.

Initially worried about being accepted, he has rapidly settled into the community and now celebrates his roots through involvement with the Congolese Traditional Dance Troup.

About the community contributors

This is John Head's first project with ABC Open.

The project was pitched to him in his capacity as Artistic Director of the Shepparton Festival and, never one to do things by halves, he approved its inclusion in the Festival and decided to get involved.

He first met Derrick when his wife volunteered as an integration aide, helping to settle Derrick's family in Shepparton.

John interviewed and edited Derrick's story and left the photography to Coen.

Coen moved to Shepparton six months ago.

He joined 'Word and Mouth' youth group and quickly became involved in the 'Now and Then' project.

Coen is keen to expand his photography skills in this project and is enjoying getting to know some of Shepparton's other new arrivals.

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