Two weeks in the sunshine was just one of the benefits of the first part of our Exchange to Indulkana. In the first five minutes after arriving on the Sunday afternoon, Investigator students were playing sport, talking to kids and making friends with students at Indulkana, which is a testament to their willingness to learn and be involved.
The students were a delight to share life with, and participated fully in every opportunity provided, which is wonderful.
At Indulkana, students participated in:
- Learning basic Pitjantjatjara with Anangu teachers
- A scavenger hunt around the community with Indulkana students
- Digging for and eating witchetty grubs – maku
- Finding and eating wild sugar – kurkuu
- Eating honey ants – tjala
- Climbing to the spring
- Climbing the rocky ridge behind the community and getting a bird’s eye view of the community
- Playing basketball
- A community barbecue
- Indigenous art
The whole school community was involved with us, and every morning our students joined the R-12 school fitness activities to start the day. At the end of the week, all the Indulkana Anangu School staff commented on the positive impact of our students on the school, bringing a sense of excitement and even better, increased attendance from Anangu students, which was very pleasing for us.
Leo, who co-ordinated the visit, and the other staff worked very hard to give us a meaningful, educational and fun visit. The students made friends quickly and easily and, although our visit was short, it was a very emotional goodbye on Thursday morning.
Red Dirt Camp halfway to Uluru is a wonderfully remote and beautiful camping spot in the middle of the Musgrave Ranges. We all enjoyed the camping and hiking there, and then we were on our way to Uluru. Walking around the base of Uluru, walking the Valley of the Winds in Kata Tjuta and visiting the Cultural Centre at Uluru were activities that were enjoyed by all students. The majesty of the country, Uluru and Kata Tjuta was appreciated and photographed. Our Red Faces Talent Quest at Uluru showed a depth of talent and originality, and provided a great deal of laughter and fun. Kings Canyon and The Rim Walk were memorable highlights of our trip. Our students interacted as a team and a highlight for me was the inclusivity of the students, not just with Anangu people but within our own team.
On the way home we camped at Indulkana Creek, about 20 kilometres out of Indulkana and to our surprise and delight, the Indulkana Senior students along with their teachers Analise and Leo came and joined us for tea in the creek bed. The students all mixed together easily and happily. A Master Chef damper competition produced the best damper ever made on our trips, which the judges noted cheerfully.
After seeing the Breakaways and the Dingo Fence and touring an Opal Mine at Coober Pedy, we headed to our last night camping outside Glen Dambo. As we sat around the camp fire and reflected on our trip, I was very thankful for: the great team that leads this trip every year so generously and ably with dedication – Nathan Shaw, Michael Connor, David Harrison, Linda Johnson, and Kristy Robertshaw; the hospitality and long friendship with the Indulkana community; the delightful students who participated in this first part of the Exchange; our beautiful outback, and the provision of God. Sleeping under the stars is a breath-taking experience, and one that encourages reflection and gratitude.
I look forward to the next part of the Exchange when Indulkana students and staff visit us in Term 4.
Mrs Jane Wadham