Monday, May 31, 2010

Farewell, East Kimberley Kununurra

And so, after nearly five weeks, my time in Kununurra is over.

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.

6 comments:

The Sice Family said...

What an inspiring post! You have worked hard, and made some great discoveries and memories. The Kimberleys are a beautiful humbling place. Wendy xx

Kerry said...

It was great to read that and understand what you're saying. Although it wasn't a long time, some of the best (8) days of my life were spent visiting the Aboriginal township of Mapoon on Cape York. I considered it a huge privilege.

Isabella Golightly said...

You should be really proud of your achievements up there, most people don't achieve so much in a lifetime, let alone 6 weeks!!!

Anna said...

I have really enjoyed reading your posts from Kununurra. As a NZ'er (albeit one who has been living in Sydney for the past 10 years) my understanding of the plight of first Australians is limited.

How fantastic that you have made a difference!

Gooldy said...

Flickettysplits...After 5 weeks I have finally decided to post something so here it is.

It's been a real fun and enjoyable experience working, living, camping, walking, art-ing, conversing, community-ing, 'choppy'-ing, wolfe-creeking and 4WDing during our time in K-town. (Ok, so I may have made up half of those words...We both know I would struggle to make a tenth of your score in a game of scrabble)

Once a colleague, now a mate.

Mark

P.s- I'm struggling with the cold already and would like to know where one can purchase a 'humidifier' to assist the 4 heaters i have running at home. Any ideas??

Chris C said...

What a picture! what an experience!

borrowing a line from an other australian, "From little things big things grow"