Entry 1: Out of Our Comfort Zones
Having a deeper understanding of life two years later and my love for community archaeology I could not resist but to make the choice to partake once again.
I am going back for a second time this year which shows that my expectations were well satisfied in 2016. I was quite blown away by everything we did last time from the adventures to rock art sites, the different aspects of art, the conversations and knowledge, and a lot of aspects of their community in general. Having a deeper understanding of life two years later and my love for community archaeology I could not resist but to make the choice to partake once again.
This year my expectations are in making a community project that actually helps the community. Last time I saw that the community does not have the best support from the government for their facilities and overall health; therefore, this time it would be nice to do something in a larger aspect to contribute to community people’s well-being and future. Furthermore, I wish to visit more rock art sites as my knowledge for rock art has increased somewhat from doing some of my own research on the topic. The sites we went to last time had such extraordinary surrounding nature which one just has to experience to understand the feeling in the land.
As a music lover I always want to be able to experience some form of Indigenous music. If there are any opportunities, we should not miss them! I started learning the didgeridoo some time ago; however, I have found it difficult to learn how to circular breathe and what better place to learn than Arnhem Land?
Overall, I am excited for any activities we do and the large funny dinners. I hope to do well in the assessment; however, just being and living in the moment is what I am really after.
Entry 2: Experiences and Challenges
I am really excited to work alongside Claire, and to do a project that can effect real change within the community.
We are in the middle ages of the field school. The sun is burning; the air is fresh and the adventures mystical. Though I came in 2016 I am still learning something new every day. One of the most eye opening experiences I have had was going to the Barunga cemetery where there were several unmarked graves. This was really sad to see, especially for the families who do not know exactly where a loved one is buried. Being in a cemetery is extremely hard for me as it really hits home, hence why I was too uncomfortable to put my hand up for that specific project.
It was great to see Manyallaluk, as that was a new experience this year to what we did in 2016. One of the most bizarre things I have ever seen and learnt was Richard showing us how to make a paint brush with a type of grass weed. Additionally, Carol showed us how to basket weave and pull leaves from the pandanus palms. To see how many colours can be created through seeds, leaves and roots absolutely blew my mind. It would have been great to go back up there today as I heard the group is going to learn how to make fire from sticks, hunt, and find didgeridoos from hollowed out trees; however, I have a great, exciting challenge ahead of me doing a grant proposal for the community. I am sure I will be back again in the future so I can experience more of Manyallaluk.
I am really excited to work alongside Claire, and to do a project that can effect real change within the community. I think this will be a great learning curve for me, because I have never done a proper grant proposal before. Diving deep into new things is exactly what I am about and I am at the point in my life where I want to better the world we live in!
“Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.” – This is a quote from one of the principals of hermeticism which I will finish this blog with, because I feel this relates really well with the mindset of this community.
Entry 3: Take Away Thoughts
This project really opened my eyes on how life is in Arnhem Land with aspects of health. It makes me sad to see the Western world thrive compared to these smaller Aboriginal communities.
A general feeling of sadness comes over me every time I leave Barunga. To feel that connected to people and the community is something words cannot really express. Being back for the second time has made Barunga a part of me and regardless if I go as a student, volunteer or even a teacher in the future, I will be back! My expectations were well met, even though we did not go to all the sites that I wanted to visit. This trip gave me a different type of realisation than last time, as the community projects from everyone were really important and can cause real change.
My project consisted of writing a grant proposal for dental health research in which Claire gave me the information for. This project really opened my eyes on how life is in Arnhem Land with aspects of health. It makes me sad to see the Western world thrive compared to these smaller Aboriginal communities. To find out how little support they get in terms of dental and mental health is not right and it needs to change. I will do whatever I can to make this change occur, because, there is no way I am going to live in a world where universities, businesses, hotels, bars etc. get to upgrade their facilities and communities such as Barunga do not even get regular health checks.
The most powerful moment on this trip was talking to Anne-Marie from Sunrise Health. You could really feel her pain and passion for these communities and it was in this moment where my eyes became more open. I want to give a massive thanks to the Barunga community, the Flinders University staff and all my colleagues for such an amazing trip and for being beautiful souls.
We will create change!