Following the last school day of 2020, the fifth Barambah (B5) trip to the South Burnett set off for another chapter in our developing and blossoming relationship with the people of the region. In many ways, it is hard to believe that close to 100 students and six staff have been a part of this Service Learning initiative since its inception just a few years ago.
Nearly all have returned from their trips with a feeling that they have gained more than they have given in spending time alongside rural people living life in often stark contrast to their own.
In 2020, there were many younger brothers and sisters (including twins) that followed in their older sibling’s footsteps by nominating to attend back in January and whilst COVID prevented us from visiting in June, we were able to reconnect in December. Everyone had a similarly profound trip compared to when we started four years ago largely due to developed relationships with the community that Somerset College has committed its time and friendship to; the supportive Cherbourg elders, teachers and various communities of the region.
As a participant reflects, "B5 wasn’t a trip about differences, it wasn’t about 'us' and 'them'. It was about closing gaps, not just crossing bridges. It was about what unites us, not what divides us. Those connections we made, the 'realness' of them, the sense of humanity and empowerment in forming those bonds, that is what I will never forget." She isn’t alone but all concede that this learning has included some confronting statistics and darker truths revealed through some of the challenging aspects of our national history, yet all attendees remain characteristically positive about what they experienced.
It is wonderful to see Somerset families supporting the Barambah trips and other service learning endeavours like it found in our IMPACT Programme handbook [HERE].(https://www.somerset.qld.edu.au/workspace/uploads/pages/files/2021-impact-programme-handbook-6019eb73a023b.pdf). Long may such sustained friendship and community-building continue.
B6 is scheduled for Sunday 20 June to Friday 25 June, 2021. Year 10 students will have the opportunity to sign-up in the coming weeks via an email to parents.
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