We continued our journey home with another couple of long bus trips. Yesterday we travelled from Port Augusta to Border Town, for our final night together.
Along the way we had another appearance from Disco Kitty, more amazing bus games led by some of our peer leaders and had our daily reflection space. For many of our pilgrims, their highlight of the trip has been the bus trip and having space to digest information and have space to go a bit crazy!
In our reflection space we looked at the documentary ‘Our Generation’. The Documentary looks at the 2007 investigation into Indigenous communities and the state of emergency that was called leading to interventions in Aboriginal communities. This was a confronting documentary for many of us, as we now knew these policies were hurting our friends from a number of communities that we had travelled to (in particular the Mutujulu community at Uluru who were featured in the documentary). This helped many of us realise that we are not talking about issues of the past, but ones that effect our friends now. For many, this was a hard reality to deal with and many of us found ourselves asking, what can I do?
A number of us decided it was about sharing with our friends and family what we had learnt, others felt it was time to meet the Aboriginal people from our communities at home and make spaces for them to share with us, and others are still exploring what their part is.
When we arrived at Border Town the girls gathered to exchange their beads from our women’s business time at Cooper Pedy. We had colours that represented a number of traits, our pilgrims made a coloured bead to represent who they saw themselves as, what they wanted to grow in and one for another pilgrim and how they saw them. At Border Town we reflected on the beads we had chosen for ourselves and gave the bead we had made for another pilgrim, telling them why. In response, all we could say was thankyou.
This was a profound time for our girls to recognize more of who they are.
“The beads help you see different perspectives of yourself that you didn’t know you had.” Kayla, 16.
After Dinner we walked down to a local Church of Christ (that was generously provided to us) for our closing ceremony. We shared our highlights, looked at some of the photos from the trip and heard from Jake before having a bit of a party!
Jake spoke to us about believing being more than a feeling, but an action. We were invited to wash the (VERY) dirty feet of one another as a symbol of belonging to Gods story of service.
We finished of the preceding’s off the night with a dance party (and let me tell you, there was not one person who was not dancing!). Josh led us in the ‘funky chicken’ and we all let our crazy out before respectfully heading back to camp and getting some rest for the night.
And now we are on our final bus ride home writing affirmations for one another, enjoy each others company before we depart ways and go back to our respective areas.
Here’s some reflections from some of our young people:
Rilee (15 years old) – “before the trip I was an average teenage girl who knew very little about the Aboriginal culture. On the pilgrimage I have learnt that Aboriginal people can be so forgiving, even after everything that continues to happen. Going home I will try and spread the word about the power of the pilgrimage and what Aboriginal people have gone through.
The biggest lesson I learnt on the pilgrimage was from my leaders, that I need to keep on trying and never give up. Thank you to everyone who helped out to get me here, this has been an amazing journey.”
Zac (15 years old) – “This year I was elected to be a peer leader and have the opportunity to come alongside other young people and encourage them to get the most our of the pilgrimage and make them feel comfortable.
I feel like I have a sense of belonging here and it has given me the confidence to live by my faith and not fear sharing who I am when I get home.
I would like to thank Gemma and Lauren for putting me forward as a peer leader and helping me with fundraising options. I would also like to say Thank you to all the sponsors for taking money out of your own spending’s to help me have this experience.“
Eleanor (16 years old) – “coming on the trip I really wanted to learn more about the Aboriginals, their history and our effect on their lives so I could find a way to help. Being on the pilgrimage has given me a better understanding and motivation to help others. I’ve become way more confident in myself and got better at communicating with others.
I’m so thankful for the financial support to get here, without that help I would not of been able to come.”