Sunrise in Arrernte Country: Waking up in Santa Teresa compared to Sydney is like waking up in another world altogether. And although both manage to soothe my soul in different ways, this morning’s experience was breathtaking.
Dawn was barely breaking with Rebekah, Cathy, Michael and I climbed to the top of the hill and the cross that can be seen as you drive into town from Alice Springs. Before the town itself was awake a calmness wafted over us ad we took in the stunning sunrise and landscape of Arrernte country.
Community BBQ: Nothing brings a community together like a good ol’ Aussie BBQ. Santa Teresa was no different today as NASCA hosted a healthy barbie at the local pool where the students, teachers and family members all tucked into salads and snags, steaks and chicken (I’m told some of the best ever eaten!) provided by Catholic Education.
The lads – Michael, Marc and Anthony (pictured above) - did a fine job cooking for hours, and not that we divvied the work up by gender, but the gals did a lot of the serving of the coleslaw and potatoes salads – what’s a barbie without those eh? As kids jumped in and out of the pool to grab an apple or orange, it made me realise how good food and exercise can be made into a fun community event.
NCIE Community of Excellence: Today Cathy and I had the opportunity to sign up students at the school to the very deadly Community of Excellence on-line facility for goal setting and mentoring through the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence. Many think there is a disconnect between city and remote areas, but there isn’t and needn’t be as many of us travel to do voluntary work through programs like ARMtour to ensure that Australians across the land can enjoy the privileges many of take for granted in the city. This new on-line community – protected and moderated – is another way that we as role models can keep in touch with students we meet on tour, long after we are gone, and it means we can support goal setting / reaching wherever we are. Michael also offered to do some on-line personal training for students via this forum. How excellently innovative is that?
Marc Geppert: I’m grateful for my team member, the easygoing Marc Geppert. Marc is the Participation Manager for AFL NSW /ACT (Southern NSW) and brings to our visit to Santa Teresa, a playing background with the Sydney Swans, an ability to play basketball and cook a barbecue. He played a mean shark in the pool yesterday, flew a kite today and is learning the skill of UNO as I write this. If he’s not loading and unloading the van, high-fiving kids at school, he’s making sure we have inspirational music in the background.
This is Marc’s first ARMtour but asked if he would return, his quick response was: “Definitely. It’s a remote community and they love their footy!”
The pic above is of Marc on the footy field. We can’t show pics of the kids but you can see that he had them hanging off him – a common experience for ARMtour role models who are much respected. Some are loved more than others because the locals LOVE their football!