Tuesday, November 6, 2012

ARMtour Day 6: I’m grateful for fond farewells, spirituality and my own bed!

 Helen, Thelma and Louise ponder the community as they leave

It was a sad farewell to Santa Teresa today as we packed our vans and said goodbye to the staff and students at the school, drove back to Alice and travelled back to our respective cities / homes. But had a few reflective moments along the way.
 Here’s my final gratefuls for ARMtour in Santa Teresa:
SANTA TERESA SPIRITUALITY CENTRE: I’m grateful for meeting Paula Ferber in the classroom at the school, because turns out she was one the deadly artists responsible for the famous mural inside the Santa Teresa church. On our final day here, Paula took us to the Spirituality Centre, which plays an important role in the local community and Catholic Parish. Once the site of the girls dormitory, it is now a place for traditional healing, but also a venue for creative / artistic activities. This pic above shows the rows of beautiful hand painted silk scarves painted by local artists. The pic below is a stunning banner painted by Paula Turner.
Also famous are the Santa Teresa Crosses – they are all originals, no one is the same. They make a wonderful gift and in turn help the community by giving meaningful occupation and assisting the local economy. You can order yours by emailing:
My deadly team leave me at the airport :(
FOND FAREWELLS: While a visit to any community becomes part of the special tapestry of memories we carry with us forever, it’s the friendships we make with our teammates that make the experience something that also stays in our hearts. Saying goodbye to Cathy, Rebekah, Anthony, Marc and Michael was a fleeting but moving moment because when you share 24/7 with strangers for five nights, you fast become friends. I am grateful for the extraordinary sense of camaraderie and humour they each brought to our time away, and for their patience with me at all times.
 Our dynamic team leader, Rebekah!
REBEKAH TORRENS: I’m grateful for our Team Leader Bundjalung woman, Rebekah Torrens, who, when not volunteering with ARMtour  is an ASPIRE Project Officer with the University of NSW. Rebekah brings with her a background in teaching, but more importantly, an ability to lead with a sense of compassion and humour. Which is something that’s needed when in the dark of night her team members mistake hosing on the road as a seven-foot long snake.
This is Rebekah’s second visit to Santa Teresa and she first joined the ARMtour community because: “If I can work with my people, then I’m happy with that. Once I’ve done that then I will move on and work with other communities here and abroad.”
MY OWN BED: Yes, it’s true. I am the only volunteer not to camp tonight. But having been in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and then directly to Alice and Santa Teresa, I needed to get home and ground myself. I need to say, that I was one of the oldest on tour and the old bones don’t work so well on the ground as it were. Having been disoriented after some weeks of travel, I was sad due to missing my team, but truly grateful for NINE WHOLE HOURS SLEEP in my how bed!

[Thank you to DEEWR who fully funds ARMtour as part of the Sporting Chance Program]

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