Settling back to Sydney hasn’t been easy. For the first time in a long time, I cried as we waved goodbye to the special group of people we’ve come to know over the past 12 weeks.
Before leaving in July, my work place spoke of the “cultural shock” that we were likely to experience heading to Kununurra. What I found to be a great deal tougher, however, was the adjustment having returned home.
Over the past week, perhaps my biggest challenge, has been in articulating the experience to others. Explaining to someone what the experience was like, but doing so in the span of ten seconds before I lose their attention, has proved an impossibility.
The outback experience has been an extremely personal, emotional and heartfelt one. Before leaving, we were excited about the opportunity to give back and to learn first-hand of the Aboriginal culture, but never did we expect to be given so much more in return.
For those interested, you can find out a little more about our project at here and here. Despite the scope of the project changing significantly, we hope to have another 12 Indigenous kids from the East Kimberley region attend schools in Melbourne by Term 1, 2016. I’m happy to say that we gave our all to the project and look forward to the program’s continual success.
One other thing I would say, is that there is a wide misconception among the Australian public that Aboriginal organisations in remote communities aren’t really up to much. We’ve met and worked with some of the most qualified, capable and driven individuals. Often, they are quiet achievers, going about their work with an unwavering commitment to their purpose, displaying unparalleled courage in their refusal to be overwhelmed by the challenges facing their communities, and patiently empowering change.
The fun stuff
There is no shortage of things to do in the East Kimberley. Throughout our travels, we also haven’t come across another part of the world quite as beautiful as the East Kimberley. You can get a pretty good idea of what we got up to here.
Rather unexpected, this experience has been one of self-discovery more than all else. Never did I expect to grow so much as a person.
In the three-month period, I have come to learn
- To speak less and listen more;
- To appreciate how little you actually need to feel fulfilled as a person;
- The importance of aligning your work with your passion and of discovering your life purpose;
- A heck of a lot about people. From managing egos, prejudices and expectations, to understanding varying values, beliefs and attitudes towards life. From not being able to see eye-to-eye on things, to befriending some of the most beautiful and spiritual human beings. When it comes to personal growth, nothing compares to throwing 15 people into a room and forcing us to work, play and bond together.
Our outback journey ends here.
In giving, we got given so much more in return.
Thank you for being part of this journey.