Busyness

Excerpt from Ashley Legget’s personal blog “Dear Australia“  Ashley is a spring 2015 ASC student from Messiah College. Reproduced with permission.

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This is just one of the many beautiful views along the Gorge walk on Straddie Island.

There is way more then I can fit into a blog post to write about, so be prepared to read a novel here, arranged by bullet points:

1.) The main focus of my time in Australia is learning about the modern culture and Aboriginal culture, which has sparked a deeper passion in me for equality. For the American’s who don’t quite understand, Aboriginals are like the Native Americans of Australia, so technically the “Native Australians.” They inhabited the land, and were forced out and abused in many different ways. The thing that makes this class so close to my heart is having a true Aboriginal teacher who spends a lot of her time teaching us about her culture and the close to home problems that they faced and are still facing today. Aboriginals still do not receive the recognition, love, and rights that they deserve as the rightful “owners” of the land. Aside from seeing the true heart of Lea and experiencing a deep passion for her people, this has really sparked a general passion for equality of minorities. Whether they are separated by religious views, culture, language, sexual orientation, or enslaved by anything such as human trafficking… or really anything else, everyone deserves the same rights, respect, and a chance at life the way they decide to live. It breaks my heart to hear the stories of the oppressed.

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This is from the Art Museum a few weeks ago, but it’s taken on a whole new meaning as I continue to understand the Aboriginal culture more and more.

2.) Second, my internship is going so well. I work about 15 hours a week overall at Citipointe, doing a variety of things from administrative work, making phone calls, organizing information, connecting with youth, running a cafe, and many other random jobs. I am really getting a chance to see a whole different youth culture. It’s a large church, VERY pentecostal/charismatic, has a large body of volunteers and about 30 full time workers. I am learning a lot about myself and youth ministry. I must admit though, as I have before, I LOVE my small church and the community around a small church.

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The band is amazing, and extremely well known throughout Australia. This is the main youth event that is put on on Friday.

3.) I finished my first big assignment on the Background of the New Testament if anyone is interested in that topic… it was hard.

4.) I spent this past weekend at North Stradbroke Island, which is mainly an Aboriginal culture. We attended an opening ceremony, which included celebrate the 21st birthday of the elders! I heard many great speakers with beautiful hearts and passions for Aboriginal culture. We did so much to learn more about the culture! We each got to attend a few workshops, which included sand art (not the kind in the bottle), basket weaving (we made bracelets), spear and boomerang throwing, and Aboriginal art. Personally, I learned how to throw a spear and I made 2 keychains in the weaving workshop; it’s the same technique, you just wrap it into a circle and make a basket instead of just a small straight line! We kind of got stormed out of there, so we headed to our camp to unpack and get settled in before we headed off to an Aboriginal weapon and artifact lesson from an Aboriginal! We learned how they made all of their different weapons and learned some crazy hunting methods. We also got our faces painted like a sting ray I believe, and learned some awesome dances and took some crazy pictures (not on my camera, so check back in another time to see them!) The next day we traveled around and got to see some cool landmarks. First we saw a Midden, which is one way Aboriginals can prove how many years they have occupied a land. The midden just looked like a large hill covered in grass, but if you were to cut the hill in half you would see many layers of shells, bones, and other things that they threw in a “trash pile.” It was really cool to see the bottom layer of that! After that we went to Point Lookout, which is the most beautiful beach/gorge walk ever. There’s many pictures (thanks to the other people in my class and myself) of the view, so check them out in the Photograph tab. Then we went to Brown Lake, which is classified as “Women’s Business” where women prepared for ceremonies and gave birth. This is a sacred place. It’s called Brown lake because it’s surrounded by tea tree’s which have died the water brown and “contaminated” it with tea tree oil, which actually made the water soft and great for your skin!

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This is our Aboriginal professor Lea showing us the bottom of the Midden. The Midden is where the Aboriginal people used to throw shells, bones, etc. If you cut the hill behind her in half, you’ll see hundreds of layers, proving how long they have been on that island.

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This was the opening ceremony during the dance segment!

THE CRAZIEST THING: They drive the car ONTO the Ferry! There were like 3 coach busses and A LOT of cars on that Ferry… that made me very very nervous, but it was a beautiful boat ride to the island and back!

5.) I had a bit of a fall… and this is quite the funny story looking back on it now. I was sitting getting ready for Internship with a few friends at Rivers Cafe, which is the cafe attached to the church I am working at. The seating area is up on a platform, which you can walk up 4 or 5 steps on either side to get to. I was sitting with my back to a set of stairs when one leg of my chair when over the edge and I fell (over a matter of 5 seconds) on the chair down the stairs onto the very hard turf ground. I got entangled in the chair and now have a crazy bruise to prove for it!

6.) Australians love American accents, think were all fat and eat unhealthy, and basically every stereotype you can think of America that is negative.

7.) That is all I can think of. In general I spend a lot of time with Dana at my internship, which has been so lovely working with her. In my off time, I go out to eat with friends and take naps… but don’t worry.. I don’t typically have free time, so I am soaking up every ounce of this time.

Bay View Park

A poem by fall 2013 student, J.T. Cummings

Water trickles under the dock at Bay View Park. A heaven on earth.
Alone with one’s thoughts, in silence, he sits.
Meditating, listening, hearing what his heavenly Father has to say.
Broken, undeserving: Feelings that pass through the mind.
Relax. One’s mind begins to wander. Peace. Taking the burden from one’s soul; God arrives.
Anticipation of God’s direction, the summer breeze. Rest.
The water is still. The birds chirp in the distance. The sun sets.
God, a beautiful artist. The sky filled with colour.
Whole once again. Redeemed. One sits in his presence.
Serenity. Tranquility. Bliss.

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Adventures at Tyrone Station

Excerpt from Fall 2014 student Sammie Oh’s blog “Ink Spot: A speck in the universe“. Reproduced with permission.

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At last, a collection of tales that unfolded between September 11 and September 14, otherwise known as my ‘ASC Outback Trip’. It was the best retreat from uni and suburban life that I could have ask for. And who better to spend it with than my fellow American students? Anyway, here are snippets of our time there:

Rest Stops 

Along the way to and from Charleville we stopped in a couple places including Toowoomba, Chinchilla, and Morven. Small, little towns they all were too.

20140911_095246Toowoomba

20140911_151353I would have loved to step inside this place of miniatures if we had had the time! The white sign says “Morven Historical Buildings in Miniature”

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Mark & Grace Ironside

We were hosted by the lovely Grace and Mark Ironside, owners of Tyrone Station. With three children out of the nest, a track record in pastoral works, skills in sheep-shearing and cattle raising, and a charming story of how they started dating, the Ironsides were very good to us. Besides the food and fence replacing lessons, they imparted wisdom through their stories and testimonies. I would also like to mention that they and their land, where we stayed, featured on an episode of “The World’s Strictest Parents” in Australia. Here’s a yard shot which excludes all the living and activity facilities.

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The place was so peaceful.One of us even brought a hammock to hang between the trees. It felt like a cocoon when I climbed inside and the edges wrapped over me. I reckon a couple people had decent naps in there.

Old Abandoned Ranch House and Cattle Lands 

On the first full day at the cattle station we all piled onto the back of two trucks (or ‘utes’ as they call them in Oz) and rattled across the dusty red land. Mulga trees and billabongs were the main attractions. Occasionally we saw clumps of cattle and a frightened kangaroo. The land isn’t as barren as some are led to believe (then again, there are probably different levels of how ‘outback’ it can get). Some might say it’s empty but I’d like to think there is a lot going on that I just can’t see for lack or exploration. Driving through acres and acres of the same scenery was still exciting for us who only had a couple days to take it all in.

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One of our main stops included an old rusted house with piles of metal scraps that were once tractors, motorbikes, and other machines and tools. Heaps(a popular word here, “heaps”) of dried out kangaroo and wallaby corpses, or at least what was left of them since who knows how long, littered the site. Did they all just go over there to die?

20140912_113413You can’t see them in the picture, but the skeletons are there. Some are camouflaged by their brown skin still stretched over their bones.

20140912_113858This side of the abandoned shelter has a lot of fence work and gates.

20140912_114113One of our ASC Coordinators, Kimberly, was especially excited. She’s the one with the scarf around her neck. The girls on the bike are posing for a different camera.

As we rode on I was able to capture some bovines. After all, it was a cattle station so how could I not? Later, a group of us witnessed calves get dehorned and that was also an interesting experience. I confess I lacked the same concern some of the other girls had over the bleeding stumps(just a bit of dribbling) where the horns used to be. Perhaps I’ve gotten used to(although I hope not desensitized by) the sight of animal blood and suffering in regards to livestock treatment. In the case of cattle welfare, the stress and pain of dehorning calves is outweighed by the multiple long term benefits, one of which includes the prevention of cows bruising and damaging each other with their horns. If I somehow accidentally roused a mad cow here(highly unlikely) it’s good to know I won’t be gored by it.

20140912_102014Hello there hornless cows!

Diego the Dingo

Mark shot a dingo. They’re worth $50 a scalp because they like to prey on farm animals. I jumped at the gunshot and saw Mark lift the little pup by it’s legs then lay her down on the road so he could reset the trap.  And now I sort of know how to set a trap if ever I need to. Despite it being a female and quite dead, someone named her Diego, Diego the Dingo. She was put in the corner of a ute, right next to me. She could have been sleeping if it weren’t for her eyes, unblinking and lifeless. A couple of the girls were a bit distressed by the experience.

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Little Crawlers.

I’m no entomologist but I do find most insects quite fascinating. There were lots of ants and moths. The ground was full of antlion traps but I didn’t get to see any in action. A few butterflies flit around the trees and red dragonflies dominated one of the greener waterholes. Surprisingly, there weren’t that many flies. And then there was this thing:

20140911_180529This centipede looks unreal. Just saying. It’s real though.

 

None of my other pictures were that good or I lost them which is sad because I took some ant and caterpillar ones.  It’s hard to take pictures of small moving insects in great clarity with my little android.

Cliffs and Caves

One evening we explored some neat erosion formations that had been carved into a cliff side. After a time of quiet meditation on one of the pocket ledges (everyone had their own space somewhere nearby) we gathered and set off in search for caves and the sunset. It was beautiful. And would you believe it if I said there were more bones?

20140912_175319An example of what I meant about corpses.

20140912_175521The entrance to a couple shallow caves.

20140912_175740The tunneling insides of one of the caves.

20140912_174650A view from the cliff’s edge.

Starry Nights

Each night I looked for the stars. The first night, before the moon rose, was probably the best. In the cloudless sky I could see the band of our Milky Way for the first time. Perhaps I saw it before as a child and have forgotten. There is no way I could have captured the beauty of the night sky with my phone camera, so no pics of the glittering stars. But here are some sunset and dusk shots:

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Goodnight and Goodbye

We had a beautiful bonfire before bed every night. I would like to say those were some of the best nights in Australia thus far. Yes every moment is precious, but some are more sacred than the rest. Such were the moments for many of our bonfire spells.

I feel as though these memories are already far away even though it’s only been two weeks. The first few days back in Brisbane was difficult. I missed the atmosphere, landscape, and stars. Assignments were piling up. Life was speeding up again. And now it’s back to the books and the heroics of mundane Monday moments.

In Retrospect: Australia Day

by Ty Tuin

For those who have only known the instant gratification of digital photography, let me tell you a story of patience, perseverance and the pursuit of pay-off.

On Australia Day (January 26th), I shot this roll of film. Delays from the lab and a few misunderstandings later, and here I have the short vignette of images more than a month later.

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The old Sydney buses rolled out for the day

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Orientation in the City

Turning over a new leaf, the ASC decided that trying orientation in the city would be a nice approach to welcoming the new batch of ASC students.

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So excited to see the new students!

At first it took some time for the students to learn how to get around.

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There were rivers to cross.

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And mountains to climb.

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After some lunch and a walk around they were ready to go.

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