Monday, May 31, 2010
Farewell, East Kimberley Kununurra
Here at the other end of my secondment, I have experienced a great number of things I wasn't expecting.
Firstly, and most importantly, I'm the proud owner of a 40-page, 10,000 word strategy that sets out a way forward to develop and support leadership amongst Aboriginal people in the East Kimberley. That's practically a thesis. But better than a thesis, I actually think it's achievable.
I have at least 937 tropical-strength mosquito bites.
I have survived Wolf Creek, explored the Bungle Bungle ranges in Purnululu, driven a manual 4WD, camped (and more surprisingly, actually enjoyed it), worked up to running 9.5 km in one go, swum in crocodile-infested waters, seen rock art in situ, eaten goanna, met amazing people and made new friends, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.
I even have - wait for it - a tan. I don't think I've ever had a tan before in my life.
Best of all, I've lifted my eyes to the sky in a way I haven't done before. I am so glad I was given the opportunity to be here and experience all this.
Before embarking on this secondment I didn't know very much about Aboriginal affairs. Now, I have a much better understanding of the way white settlement has impacted on first Australians, and I have some things to work through as a consequence. I struggle with what colonisation has wreaked on their society -and what we continue to perpetrate today - and I am convinced we need to work together to set that right.
How? I don't know how. But I am hoping that my being here has made a difference, albeit a tiny, infinitessimal one, and that I will continue to carry that difference with me as I go ahead.