Yarrabah Immersion Trip

On Sunday 10 December last year, ten girls (eight Year 11s and two Year 10s) travelled to Far North Queensland to embark on a week-long community service immersion in the Indigenous community of Yarrabah. Although most of us had come to know and love Far North Queensland in Year 9 on Outreach, we hadn’t spent a lot of time in Yarrabah and we had matured and grown since that experience.

We visited three centres throughout the duration of our trip: Mutkin Aged Care, the PCYC, and Yarrabah Day Care Centre where we completed different activities and jobs  to assist the community.

At the day care centre, we played with babies and children, wheeling them around in toy cars, making sandcastles, talking about jellyfish and sharks, and climbing on the playground equipment. The children especially loved our idea to bring bubbles – they couldn’t get enough of them! We also spoke to the women who worked there. Many of them were young, so we talked about school, ambitions, the intense Queensland humidity, and what our impressions of Cairns and Yarrabah were. It was so hard to leave all of the joyful faces behind at the end of the week.

When we visited the aged care centre, the women spoke fondly of singing with their siblings and have lived such vibrant and different lives to us and our families. They were so loving and gentle and they made our time there such a special experience.

The children at the PCYC were full of life. They rode their Ripsticks all around us, played against us in basketball and Connect Four tournaments, painted, did drawing, played ping-pong and pool, and swam Рall the time full of chatter. It was such a nice relief to see them all engaging with each other and being active.  They had healthy relationships, they could come and go when they liked, and they treated us with immediate respect. The PCYC was a great centre for the Indigenous youth of Yarrabah, allowing them to thrive and be safe during the school holidays. It was amazing how many kids rated Maths as their favourite subject at school!

Overall, it was an amazing experience for all of us and we all felt so lucky to have had this opportunity. A massive thank you goes out to our parents for supporting the endeavour and trusting us with our awesome teachers, Ms Solo and Mr MacDonald. Without these passionate and diligent leaders, we would have been lost, so thank you for giving up your holiday time for us. Finally, thank you to the wonderful community of Yarrabah for their hospitality and for allowing us to understand their history and culture. I encourage any girl in Year 10 or Year 11 to apply for the next Yarrabah immersion. We all became great friends and we matured from this heart-warming and adventurous experience.

 

Antonia Tassell

Year 11