There is something truly magical about Aurukun, Qld. The dusty red earth, the magical and ancient bush, the wild river, and the kind hearted people: it certainly holds a special place in my heart.
Aurukun has also had a profound affect on me. The two occasions that I’ve had the opportunity to visit and spend time in community I’ve felt myself connect with my soul’s energy, shake off the noise and distraction of day-to-day life, and feel a beautiful stillness and clarity within myself. It’s a gift I am grateful to receive from Aurukun, and I’m very thankful to have the opportunity to offer gifts in return – inspiring local kids about the Olympics, playing in a swimming hole with them (equally a gift for me – if not more so!), and just being friendly and chatting with people while walking through town.
That’s not to say that Aurukun doesn’t have its issues. There is significant domestic violence, nowhere near enough housing, a severe lack of employment opportunities and self-empowerment, drugs and alcohol are highly problematic even though it’s a “dry community”, and most nights packs of camp dogs can be heard fighting or howling. It’s a strange and saddening dichotomy, which never fails to truly inspire me to the kindness and strength of the human spirit given that genuine acts of kindness occur under such challenging and often desperate circumstances.
It’s this beauty of the human spirit faced with such unnecessarydisempowerment and challenge that has made me passionately want to work within the field of Indigenous rights in Australia, and to use my skills and experience to help to provide opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable.
Next week I’m off to Ntaria in the Northern Territory with the ARMTours programme (Athletes as Role Models). It’s a programme run by NASCA (the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy). I’ll have the opportunity to spend about a week in community working within a team of role models, and engaging with young people in community through education, sport, and other activities. I’m really excited!
But for now, one thing I really want to say is thank you to my lovely friend Gen. It’s through her generosity and hospitality that I’ve had the opportunity to experience the beauty and challenge of Aurukun, and connect with this deep passion within myself. It’s through her strength of character, integrity, and genuine kindness that ensured she was deeply respected in Aurukun, and that as an extension of her I was welcomed kindly by many local members of community.
Thanks Gen xx