Australian adventure

Excerpt from Kimberly Christie’s personal blog “Australian adventure”.  Kimberly is a Spring 2016 ASC student from Azusa  Pacific University (CA). Reproduced with permission.

So first off, I absolutely love it here. I decided pretty much as soon as I stepped off the plane that I am going to need to be forced back on the plane when we fly home. The people are amazing, school is amazing, basically everything is amazing. The only thing that is not amazing is the humidity and the bugs but you can’t win it all right? I have gotten lots of bugs bites and a lot of them have swollen up a lot but nothing has killed me yet here so that is a good thing!!

Major events thus far:

-Class trips: For my Aboriginal class I am taking while here, we have gotten to go on class trips! One trip was to a place called North Stradbroke Island where we learned all about Aboriginal history and got to speak to the elders that were there and they shared their life stories with us and it was awesome. I am not a big history person at all so this class has been a little bit of a struggle for me, but the island trip was awesome because it put everything we have been learning into perspective. Also, it was really beautiful so that was a plus.

^it was so beautiful!^learning how to make fire

-Friends: There are 20 americans who are also in the program with me and they are all amazing. We have all become so close during our random adventures around Brisbane and I am so thankful for them. We all are starting to realize how hard it is going to be for us to say goodbye to each other when we get back to America so that’s sad. But for now, we are enjoying all of the time we have together and taking in every moment!^our very first day here!

-School: School is so different here it is really weird. For example, in one of my class we have one paper that is worth 40% of our grade and then another paper that is worth 60% of our grade…and that is it. No homework, no tests, no quizzes..just the papers. This is quite an adjustment for me because I am used to the American schooling system where you have homework and 50 different categories of things that factor into your grades. I am in four classes here: one aboriginal class, one about the history of Australia, one business class, and one class about the Bible. It has been really awesome to interact with the other Australian students and learn from them as well!

-Service placement: While in Australia, we have to complete 35 of service at a site that was picked for us. My site that I am at is called Regis Bulimba and it is an elderly care facility! I go every Monday morning with Laina (another American) for 4 hours and we love it. I don’t really have much experience working with the elderly so I was kind of scared at first. But since we have been going for a little bit now, we are starting to get to know the residents more and more and we are gaining relationships with them which is awesome! I love hearing all of their stories of how they ended up in Australia and what they were doing before they went to Regis Bulimba. I have bonded with one resident named Les and him and I talk about golf every week lol.

-Random things: I saw my first Australian koala the other night. I was driving with my host mom to go buy me cough medicine (because I currently have the plague), and something ran across the road that we thought was a cat. But when we got closer, we realized it was a koala! I was pretty excited even though I saw it for 2 seconds and was in a car that was nowhere near it..but it was still cool. My host family is the best. They are so beyond welcoming and nice to me and they have made the transition so much easier. I also have mastered public transportation as we take the bus everywhere.

Alright if you read all of that you are a star. I have about a month and a half left in this beautiful country! Hopefully I post again before I go back to America but at this rate we will see if that actually happens lol

peace and blessings 🙂

 

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Aunty Marg (A Poem)

North Stradbroke Island, Queensland

Excerpt from Laina Faul’s personal blog “Thoughts From Laina.”  Laina is a Spring 2016 ASC student from Belhaven University. Reproduced with permission.North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia

Aunty Marg
By Laina Jo Faul

Two faces smile as they greet.
It’s a green meadow when they meet,
hand to hand,
cheek to cheek,
the Western grip distant for a beat,
silk grass kissed by morning dew.
There’s more than friendship between them:
generations of kinship
come home as they meet.

Aunty Marg totters gently towards a seat;
memories and stories trail at her feet,
each step heavier than the last,
but at last,
she sits.

Words etch themselves at the tip of her nose.
She reaches down into her stomach
and begins to speak.
Her aged voice shakes,
reverberates strength.
She looks no one in the eye,
not out of shame
but in custom and humility.

Her story tells of yesteryears,
yesterday for her.

Our lips couldn’t paint our language
Our feet couldn’t dance our songs
Our stories were silenced
Our culture branded wrong

Children were taught to be white;
you can’t teach a child’s skin.
Men were put in the fields
where their wives once had been.
Women were removed from children,
taken to houses that could never be home.

She fights for her life
for her family to reunite.
Wolves in chains lie down in pain.

Hope glistens in her eye.
Peace is on its way home;
It’s just taking its time.
The story is not over
She’s only one storyteller,
one voice of many
making future out of memory.

 

Aunty Marg is an Elder working to preserve and use the land of North Stradbroke Island to educate generations of Australians and visitors about the First Nations People there. She is a living testimony of the “wound of Australia” and the “stolen generation.” She  knows what it is to be stripped of one’s cultural identity and has witnessed the devastation that comes from that. Even so, she is an encouragement for her passion, vision, and strength amidst trial. It was an honor to have her share with us, a moment I do not cherish lightly.