Pilgrims from all over Australia spent a profound afternoon running a festival for the Anangu of Mutitjulu.
Playing games with children, face painting, sharing a some tucker from the BBQ and using a huge slip and slide to cool down.
Maybe language is a barrier, maybe cultures are different, maybe we live very different lives from the Anangu. One thing is for certain, today we are together and there’s life, in this kind of life it is impossible not to appreciate people.
We finish our festival with a water ceremony. This ceremony has been created by Aboriginal people at the very beginning of the Pilgrimage story 17 years ago. They tell stories of non-aboriginal people dying from dehydration when they first came to the desert. The Aboriginal people showed them where the water was and they survived. Sadly, it wasn’t long before non-aboriginal people fenced off the waterholes for the use of farming and shot any First Nations person who tried to drink that water. Worst still they even poisoned some waterholes, as a result First Nation’s people died.
Today at the water ceremony we are offered the water again, we drink it. Now we can start again, the past does not ever have to be repeated.
A Dawn Service finished our time at Uluru. As we watch first light reach the desert, the rock, the people, we hear a story from youth worker Sophie from Sydney. Her story of finding inspiration in helping others is a call to be more like the people we have been created to be.
We leave Uluru, we are changed.
That night is spent in Marla, a pin-drop in the middle of the desert in South Australia, this time we watch the sun go down and reflect on everything we have done since getting on that bus 8 days ago.
Youth Worker Kristen leads us through an activity to help us process this experience. We have 3 white river stones each, we make a design on each one.
A stone of Joy – we have experienced so much laugher, fun, wonder.
A stone of sadness – our hearts have broken at discovering the painful past and reality that First Nations People live with.
A stone of Hope – please know, this small tribe of Pilgrims have so much hope in our hearts for our country and all the people that will live here into the future.
Miles 16, made a sadness stone that represents segregation, that black and white would not know each other brings a deep sadness. His Joy stone is created by using Anangu pictures that signify people sitting together around a campfire, with other people joining. These people are all different colours and we are together. Mile’s Joy Stone is also one of Hope.