21-Oct-2016

Balgo

Early in the final week of Term 3, eight Year 10 students set off for the Balgo Immersion Trip.

We flew into Alice Springs and then, after spending the night at the Alice Springs Youth Hostel, we drove for ten hours across the WA border into the remote indigenous community of Balgo Hills, which would become our home for the next week.
We were very lucky to be able to volunteer at the Luurnpa Catholic Primary School spending lots of time with the kids who loved having us there. While helping out in the school, we got to work in classrooms, help with swimming activities and also drive for ninety minutes to attend and assist at an athletics carnival between the students of Balgo and the Billaluna community.

We were also very fortunate to be invited to a lot of cultural activities with the school and the local community.

One day we headed out to "Old Balgo” the site where the community was originally established. All that is left at this location now are the remains of some old buildings. Another day we headed out to Lake Gregory where we were “mudded up” so we could swim in the lake without the Rainbow serpent eating us. Also, over the same weekend a couple of the elders took us to see some beautiful rock art that dated back around 5,000 years. One highlight of the trip for all of us was going frog hunting with the school and some of the community elders. We watched as the frogs were dug out of their holes in the riverbank and then we got to try some frog that had been cooked on hot coals, which surprisingly enough actually tasted like chicken!

The Balgo community was absolutely amazing to all of us, providing “five star” hospitality and welcoming all of us into their community with open arms. We attended Mass on Saturday night during which we all received a special blessing. We were presented with our “skin names” at a school assembly and we learned about Indigenous traditions and beliefs. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help and the wonderful support of the school and the local community members.

The journey was not without its hiccups with one of the cars popping two tyres and the other almost completely running out of fuel, not to mention getting bogged on the Tanami Track! Nonetheless, the trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity that will not be forgotten by any of us.

Our thanks go to Mr Riley, Mr Janes and Mr Callanan who accompanied us on the trip and a huge thankyou to the Lasallian Youth Minster at St James, Pat Hurst, who, apart from keeping us well fed with some culinary masterpieces, was the driving force behind this wonderful experience.

Patrick and Adam
Year 10

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