Today we farewelled Al and Joel who have been here to help set up the PIlgrimage base camp – they head back to Poatina, Tasmania. Their work has been invaluable in building a camp site for us to work efficiently from.
We also got back on the road today for 5 hours. Most of us drove to Erldunda to meet up with some friends for lunch that are moving to Darwin to further the work of Fusion in the north of Australia. It was a special time together and well worth the drive.
Moo stayed back at camp editing a new intro to the pilgrimage DVD which we will be playing during the concert on 14th of April. This DVD also will show pictures from the pilgrims showing some of the things they have been doing along their journey to the center of Australia.
The day began with a special service together – reflecting on why we are here and what is about to happen; thankful for all that has fallen into place so far and the generous support of others which has helped the Pilgrimage move to this point.
Work began on a large banner today. Preliminary sketches were drawn up of a picture of Australia with symbols depicting the journey each bus and group is taking. Much of the paint being used was donated by Bunnings and Stratco. The banner will develop over the next few weeks as others add their part. It will be finished on the 14th of April at the community festival and be presented in the evening concert during one of the performances. The hope is that it will represent the journeys of each of the eight buses and the schools and communities the pilgrimage has included.
We took a quick trip out to Kata Tjuta this evening for a picnic tea, our last main meal with Al and Joel before they head back to Poatina Tasmania; they have been such a key part of our team.
The Fusion Gippsland team spent Saturday outside of Bunnings in Morwell to raise as much money as possible to help send the 3 young people and 4 leaders on the pilgrimage. 6 local young people connected through our Talk n Tucker group and Lunchtime With a Difference joined the team to help run the BBQ and we all had loads of fun as we served over 250 snags, soft drink and lollies to hungry shoppers!
The atmosphere was fun and relaxed for the most part, until we ran out of sausages and had to turn people away! There was Easter flyers being given away, Tell Magazines to read and music to dance to. A lot of fun was had by all and many customers asked us all about the journey and one man told us about his recent trip to the rock himself!
After expenses we raised around $450! This will significantly help the team and the young people cover the remaining costs to go on the journey!
We had our first morning off since we arrived one week ago. Was good to relax and appreciate this very special place.
Our afternoon was then busy with preparation for hosting a BBQ for a group of friends from Yulara. They are wanting to join with us and help on our “big weekend” and other activities we run. We watched some DVD’s of previous years pilgrimages and talked about the practicalities of what it means to run a festival and the other parts of the program.
We are very thankful for all those who are supporting the work we are doing, including the local Lions club who will be providing food and service for the BBQ on the Saturday night of the festival and concert.
We did a live cross by Skype video to Poatina Tasmania (Fusion’s National Office) to talk to the village about the work that we are doing. They were having their large community tea gathering and could see and hear us on their huge screen in the community hall.
We are looking forward to the week ahead. The days are counting down.
We have been in contact with all of the 8 buses, finalising numbers and details. It is only a little over one week till they leave!
We welcomed to our base camp today, the 10th member of our team Chris, who will be helping with the administration of the pilgrimage.
Lots more connections with many people around the community today including Nyangatjatjara College where we will be going next week to run some activities with the students there.
We were also privileged this week to be filmed during some of our schools work by Impaja Television. A small section of the footage will be placed into a documentary that will be viewed later in the year.
We had plenty to keep us busy today, including amongst other things, fixing washing machines and the every day cooking, washing and cleaning. So much is falling into place as we prepare for the arrival of over 350 pilgrims on the 12th of April.
Today students from a local school began to learn songs and dances to perform at the concert that will be held on April 14th in the middle of Yulara. It was a great time of connection and fun.
The concert will be one of the highlights for the pilgrims when they are here in Yulara. Each bus will perform and so will the schools that we have visited from this area. The concert and a free festival is a free event that will involve the whole community.
Our camp continued to set up more accommodation today ready to welcome the next addition to our team tomorrow.
This evening Fusion Gippsland held our 2nd info night with 2 young people and their guardians attending. The pilgrims, their family and the Gippsland team met together to chat about the trip and get to know one another.
We watched last years short promotional DVD, along with discussing some of the finer details of the pilgrimage.
Together we looked at setting some goals for the trip and reflected on what we would like to get out of taking this journey. It was great to meet the young people’s family and feel the excitement in the room as we prepared together for this amazing journey.
Today was our first day at Mutitjulu since arriving. We had a great time with the children again this year, singing, dancing and playing with the circus equipment.
The picture here is of us showing some children the photos of them performing at the concert last year, they were very excited to see themselves.
Our camp survived the very wet night, only two wet mattresses out of nine! We were thankful for a cooler day and a chance for the mud to settle.
We had a quick look at Uluru today as we drove past and saw water trickling down its surface, a beautiful sight.
What a contrast of climate and weather patterns we have had!
Today started very hot and ended up with lots of rain! Thankfuly we had almost finished water proofing our camp site before the down pour! We had to rush a bit to cover up bits and pieces and make our kitchen tent a little more dry.
We are now wading around in lots of red red mud! Our office is almost all set up, and that big pile of resource is almost all put in place! Elijah & Micah also really enjoyed their first day back at Yulara primary school. Elijah enjoying time with Junior rangers, finding witchety grub (Maku), cooking and eating it too!
Lots of other things falling into place, phone line will be ready in a few days and we visit two schools Mutitjulu Primary and Yulara Primary to teach them some dances for the our big event, over the next few days.
Elijah and Micah headed to school today, to meet up with old friends, and start three weeks of schooling while the pilgrimage program runs.
Meanwhile the rest of the camp had all hands on deck as we set up more tents, and got our main community area set up – the “kitchen tent”.