After hearing the stories from the inaugural B1 trip in 2017, our expectations for this trip were higher than we could have imagined. However, after experiencing this trip for ourselves, we can say that the memories we made were unique and our expectations were exceeded.
Among the many destinations visited on the journey to Barambah, our stop at Coomba Falls was probably the most hard-hitting. Reflecting on the past trauma suffered by First Nations people including the frontier wars enabled us to remember the past and better understand the real-life struggles facing indigenous people with a view to walking together now and in the future. In our personalised journals, we were able to record our reflective thoughts and emotions. After a quick stop at the beautiful Wooroolin Wetlands, we arrived at Murgon State School and were greeted by Uncle Bouw, who kindly performed a welcome to country.
When we arrived at school on Monday morning, we were instantly greeted with smiles and hugs. The Murgon kids had been looking forward to our return after our B1 students had left lasting memories in 2017. The days following our first, we created our own ever lasting memories of singing, playing ball games, colouring together, long jumping, pizza making, slime making, 'Just dance' and solving math problems. At the conclusion of each day, the B2ers found themselves listening to the silence of the Barambah night and reflecting on the eventful day just past. These ‘debrief sessions’ gave us an opportunity to compare our experiences and attempt to move forward as a whole in reaching our common goal. It served as a reminder of why we were here.
Along with our daily school visits, we were fortunate to visit The Ration Shed in Cherbourg where Uncle Eric shared with us the history of Cherbourg. Our creativity was put to the test when we painted designs for our own boomerangs. We also had the opportunity to meet and talk to Mr. Levi Murray from CRAICCHS who taught us about the repercussions of intergenerational trauma felt by the indigenous ancestors carried on through epigenetics.
From mountains of pizza to perfectly cooked steaks, every night was so kindly catered by Clint and Tina of Hidden Gold Homestead. At the conclusion of our trip, Bruce and Evelyn from Bunya Nurseries opened their business to allow the group to create murals for the classes we had so fondly become to know. On a B trip first, the final night was a sing and dance extravaganza with a local indigenous band joining us for a meal before Uncle Rocko, Uncle Bevan and Tony blasted out many favourites, include a very personal piece written and recorded by Rocko Langton. These songs will reverberate in our consciousness well past the final chords I am sure, especially Mr. Walker’s Midnight Oil favourites!
Not a dry-eye was seen saying goodbye to the kids and staff of Murgon State School on Friday morning. We are so grateful for the trip we embarked on and the experiences that will remain with us forever. We would like to thank Ms. Andrea Lewis for her assistance and huge thank you to Mrs Clare Walker and Mr Brad Walker for their generosity and compassion. Words cannot describe the appreciation we have for this fabulous opportunity Year 10 students now have to appreciate. Some might say it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, where we were able to learn, experience and grow but I know some B people will be looking to return in the not too distant future.
"I know that I judge people too quickly. It is very easy to make a judgement on someone without really knowing their experiences or life decisions. B2 has given me the understanding why indigenous Australians feel pain. Visiting The Ration Shed to learn about how the rights and freedoms were taken from indigenous people all over Queensland has really given me a different perspective. I would like to continue more conversations about the treatment of indigenous Australians. I want to share the change I saw in 11 young children in only four days. Their smiles makes me smile.
"My country has had a dark history in dealing with conflict between indigenous and non-indigenous people. My eyes have been opened to the massacres that took place in the 19th century but as a nation we remember the slain and now try to move forward and walk together as one. I am mostly a shy person, however, this trip has given me the confidence to raise my hand to be heard when sharing my feelings around indigenous matters and closing the gap."
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