Serving the Outback
Fariborz Rameshfar unloads produce from his truck
People in the outback of Queensland do not call it Tuesday, or Wednesday or Thursday when the big white truck rolls in...
The name they give to whatever day the truck arrives is “Fari’s Day”.
It is that happy time when Fariborz Rameshfar, a Baha'i from Atherton, brings a cargo precious to every individual whether on a vast cattle station, in an isolated settlement or a small town.
Inside Fariborz’s 13 tonne truck are eight tonnes of some of the mainstays of life: fresh vegetables and fruit.
And in addition to those lettuces, potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, onions and apples, he carries milk and cheese, bread, smallgoods, newspapers -- and special orders from customers who have contacted him with their requests.
The vegetables and fruit are grown in the fertile gardens of the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland, where Fariborz and his wife, Ivy, have lived since 1983.
For the past 18 years he has taken this produce on a 2000 km return trip, dropping down from the Tablelands and stopping at cattle stations and at places like Charters Towers, Julia Creek, Richmond, Hughenden and Winton.
This has made “Fari” a welcome figure to the folk who make their living on the often dry and stony land below the Tablelands.
Their homes are so far away from the big centres that before “Fari’s Day” entered their calendar, they had to rely on a few older and less appetizing offerings railed all the way from distant Brisbane.
Not only are his supplies fresher and tastier, they are cheaper too, because this single operator has no middleman.
Fariborz, 57, has made a good living from his business but says it would be just as easy to make the same amount of money if he stayed at home in Atherton and found other outlets for his services.
“But what is the use of competing?” Fariborz says.
“What inspires me to keep on doing this job is my faith as a Baha’i. I want to be of service to humankind and this way I can serve by bringing fruit and vegetables to where they are desperately needed,” he says.
His wish to serve humanity began nearly four decades ago when he left his homeland of Iran for Africa to help with Baha’i projects. When it proved impossible to get into a university there, he came to Melbourne, arriving in 1973.
It was here that he met and married Ivy. They decided to move Atherton to assist in the development of the Baha’i community there.
Over the years Fariborz has found it difficult when it came time to leave behind Ivy and his two daughters, Saphira and Nikka, every second week to do the delivery run.
But there have been many rewards, not all financial. He has seen nature at its finest.
“There are kangaroos and emus and seasonal birds, especially the thousands of budgerigars who sit on the power lines making the whole thing green. The wild flowers are amazing too.”
And best of all there are the friendships.
“I know everybody and everybody knows me,” he says.