Our day started not so bright but very early, as we set out to meet all the other pilgrims for our dawn service. We arrived on the top of a sand dune to the start of a magnificent sunrise over Uluru. As we marvelled at the beauty of creation, we joined together not only reflect, but respond to the beauty of this land and it’s Creator.
After being led in reflection by our very own Gemma Bell, we sang songs that have become part of the DNA of the Pilgrimage to Uluru such as “Red Prickled Beard” and were invited to ‘sing a new song’, to know the past and change the future. This was a powerful time for our pilgrims.
We were welcomed back to camp by the smell of bacon and eggs! How spoilt are we!? After a good feed we set out for our hike through Kata Juta. We took the trail that took us to the Valley of the Winds lookout and heard more about this sacred area from Jake.
Our crew welcomed some free time after a hard hike in the heat. Some of our group took the time to catch up with their washing and have a rest, while other had a water fight and had some time to shop in Yulara.
Before long, we were heading back out to another sand dune to watch the sunset over Uluru. Some of pilgrims were even able to pick up some INCREDIBLE dot paintings from our friends from the Mutujulu community (that we met at the festival), there to sell their artwork.
After dinner, we came together to share our stories with one another: who we were before the pilgrimage, what moment on the pilgrimage changed them, what change will be made upon returning home.
The story telling continued as our young women and men gathered separately, to sleep under the stars together; a new experience for a number of our pilgrims.
Here’s what Alice (13 years old) had to say about her experience:
“Before the pilgrimage I was someone who thought I knew everything that was to be known. On the Pilgrimage, I learnt that I obviously didn’t. On the pilgrimage, there have been a series of turning points for me. Two moments that stand out to me are when Uncle Darryl spoke to us in the Coorong and hanging out with the Dusty Feet Mob in Port Augusta.
Uncle Darryl shared with us about the impact on his family from being part of the Stolen Generation and the impact on his people for the bodies of their elders to be dug up and used in museums. They are now trying to get them home.
In Port Augusta with the Dusty Feet Mob, it was when we were watching the dance and invited to be part of the ceremony for the number of elders that have passed away so recently
I’ll am different than when I came. What I have learnt on the pilgrimage has changed who I am, everything I do and say will be effected. I will be more respectful to the community to my family and to my friends.
Thank you for this opportunity.”