It's unlikely anyone passing has noticed Mu Ka and Simaima Tavil-Melachon. Each week they sit in a corner sheltered by library shelves.
It looks out to people passing through Hargreaves Street and the Library Gardens.
The pair talk about everything and anything when they meet.
Every Thursday they sit and talk in Bendigo Library for an hour, then take Mu Ka's son to storytime.
It might be the weather, shopping, how they got there, that's the subject of their conversation. Just little things.
But for Mu Ka the words are all new. She is learning English, Mrs Tavil-Melachon a volunteer tutor.
The pair started at the absolute beginning 18 months ago. Since then they've built up Mu Ka's English, and - to a lesser extent - Mrs Tavil-Melachon's Karen.
Mrs Tavil-Melachon's background is in teaching high school science.
Here's an opportunity, we use it in a way ... we learn more in how to settle here, how to make use of what skills we have. How to be part of a community and play our part, contribute positively.Simaima Tavil-Melachon
She volunteered to teach English when she saw a notice from the Adult Migrant English Program in the bulletin at her church, Saint Theresa's.
The program provides English language tuition to eligible migrants to help them learn foundational English language and settlement skills, so they can participate in the Australian community.
The program has 30 active volunteers in Bendigo, and needs many more.
Mrs Tavil Melachon had time, so she said, "I'll try and help somebody".
After a few training sessions, she was ready to tutor English.
Mu Ka came to Bendigo as a Karen refugee, from a Thai refugee camp.
But it's been new teaching an absolute beginner. The TAFE told volunteers many of the families came from backgrounds where they know no English at all.
Volunteers are matched with a suitable English-learner.
Mrs Tavil-Melachon said many students just wanted to know street signs, or greetings, or how to go into a shop and make purchases.
She said Mu Ka used to just open her purse and give it to the shop assistant, she didn't know the denominations or any of the prices.
"The good thing is people would help her out," Mrs Tavil-Melachon said.
Mrs Tavil-Melachon can see that Mu Ka's English has changed over the 18 months they've met up.
But she said Mu Ka didn't think she'd changed, because she has such very high hopes.
She would like to study at TAFE in the future, so she can work, Mrs Tavil-Melachon said.
The pair began with greetings, "What is your name?", "Where do you live?".
They've gone through how to talk on the phone, how to tell the time, how to get from where Mu Ka lived to other places. She has learnt the bus timetable.
It's basic conversation, "Hello, my name is so-and-so, I have three children", Mrs Tavil-Melachon said.
Mrs Tavil-Melachon has learnt Karen words at the same time, to help her and Mu Ka communicate.
It's been slow, but there's definitely progress.
"She has advanced, she has become more confident," Mrs Tavil-Melachon said.
Mu Ka does still only speak a little English. She came to Bendigo in July 2018, from a Thai refugee camp, with her husband and three sons.
Her sons are 15, 13 and four years old. She's now expecting a fourth child.
She likes Bendigo, the food, the place and the happiness.
Mrs Tavil-Melachon said it was hard for Mu Ka to practice her English much at home.
She learns quickly, but as soon as her children arrive home from school, she has no time for herself.
But Mu Ka's clearly driven to learn. She wants to drive, and is starting to learn by watching YouTube.
"For Mu Ka I know she wants to learn more but she doesn't have that time," Mrs Tavil-Melachon said.
"It's not like a normal class, where you send kids away with homework, and you comeback and check the progress.
"Even though she wants to learn more, it's all about her family, and just raising her family."
Mu Ka and Mrs Tavil-Melachon began by meeting at Mu Ka's house.
But they've graduated to the library, where they sit and talk through the sessions. Mu Ka's youngest son sits with them and joins in the discussion.
Then Mu Ka's son goes to the library storytime. She herself has joined the library, to borrow books and DVDs for her children.
Mu Ka and Mrs Tavil-Melachon's relationship has grown during the 18 months they've met together. At first strangers, they have become much closer.
Now Mrs Tavil-Melachon will visit Mu Ka at her house, share food with her and her family. She and her husband were even invited to the wrist-tying ceremony the Karen community has.
Mrs Tavil-Melachon isn't helping Mu Ka settle into her own long term home though. She is living in a new country herself.
Mrs Tavil-Melachon has only been in Bendigo for two years while her husband studies at LaTrobe.
They are from Papua New Guinea. Their home is an island called East New Britain, but they have worked in Port Moresby.
Bendigo is totally different. But Mrs Tavil-Melachon and her husband love the place, the community, and they're not looking forward to leaving.
She grew up speaking English at home, and learning it at school.
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With her family Mrs Tavil-Melachon speaks local language Kuanua, with others she might speak Tok Pisin, a creole common across Papua New Guinea.
It's given her the perspective to share that being in another country is an opportunity, you can't take things for granted.
"Here's an opportunity, we use it in a way ... we learn more in how to settle here, how to make use of what skills we have. How to be part of a community and play our part, contribute positively," she said.
Mrs Tavil-Melachon and Mu Ka will stop meeting up in August, when she and her husband move back to Papua New Guinea.
Mu Ka's youngest son will soon start attending school as well, which means she may have time to attend TAFE.
To find out more about volunteering, visit: melbourneamep.com.au/volunteer/
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