Warm welcome in the desert

Warm welcome in the desert

The gentlemen spent much of their time with the community's children, playing sport, laughing, and learning from them.

Nine CBC gentlemen experienced a unique glimpse of life in Australia's deep desert, during the holidays, spending time in the remote Indigenous community of Kiwirrkurra in the Pilbara.

The annual, week-long immersion provides students with the opportunity to serve in the community, and develop a much greater understanding of Aboriginal culture.

Boys spent most of their time with children in the community's school, helping out in classes, playing sport, and bonding with their new friends.

They also assisted at the women's shelter, prepared meals for elders, and built a new playground for the school.

Brady Santaromita (Year 11) said spending time with the children was the most memorable part of the experience.

"I learnt a lot from the kids. They want to get really involved, they want to know about you, and you want to know about them. It was great experiencing that with the kids," he said.

Matthew Read (Year 11) was impressed with the warm heart of the small community.

"It was really eye-opening to experience a different side of Aboriginal culture to what we normally see. I was surprised at how welcoming everyone was, how they accepted us and how kind they always were," Matthew said.

Liam Solar (Year 11) agreed that being welcomed so warmly made the Immersion so memorable.

"There's a really friendly vibe up there, it was great to be immersed in their culture," he said. "I thought the kids would be really shy, but they came up and said 'hi' and welcomed us as soon as we got off the bus. I didn't really know what to expect heading into the community, so that was really special."

Taj Ryan (Year 11) reflected that saying goodbye was the hardest part of the trip.

"We all got really emotional, because we weren't sure if we were ever going to see each other again. It was a really special way to end the Immersion, seeing how much the kids appreciated us being there."

The sentiment was shared by Ben Funga (Year 11), who also reflected on their goodbyes.

"I'll never forget how it felt when one of the kids started to cry as we were leaving. It really hit home how much of an impact we had on them, and how we all took something really meaningful away from the experience."

Indigenous Education Coordinator, Jason Matthews, said CBC's relationship with Kiwirrkurra isn't one-way.

"It's important to understand we didn't go to Kiwirrkurra to help them, rather to build relationships, learn about culture, recognise related injustices and promote reconciliation," he said.

"Help is a term used for people who are not self-sufficient and require intervention, and this definitely isn't the case with Kiwirrkurra."