It amazes me that as I write this, we have successfully completed all of our service projects. Right now, we are about twenty minutes out of Theodore. Rihanna and Nicki Minaj are melodically commenting in the background. I have never been so proud of young people in my life. I know that sounds like such a grandma comment whose grand daughter arrived home safely from schoolies. Think what you like about young people, but let me tell you we Big Lifters have done our university, our hometowns, our parents all so very proudly.
I try and recall my favourite moments on this journey, and I am really struggling. There have been so many beautiful moments taking place. Playing cricket with the biggest pearly whites in Cherbourg, listening to people share their story from birth to present (it can feel that way at times), seeing our strong women helping to complete the Wakka Wakka Women’s Centre in Eidsvold, planting in excess of two hundred native Bunya Pines in the Cherbourg community, or working with children in Eidsvold challenging their creativity to solve problems. This was in the first two days. This trip reminds me of when I returned to Australia from Europe, except I am in Australia. When I came home from Europe I didn’t want to upload photos, or share these stories on the net, or through Facebook statuses. I just like keeping these memories to myself. These are memories I have created, and I see such disclosure as letting go of the many touching moments we have shared with our Indigenous brothers and sisters.
There is one thing that I want to share though in greater detail. That is for mainstream society to never underestimate the power of little communities, and in particular small Indigenous communities. The strength, perseverance, and respect they have for one another is admirable. White Australia definitely has a lot to learn. Yes we could have picked towns there were larger, more resourceful, with more developed infrastructure, who were used to people visiting them. As the QUT Big Lift continues to grow, I want to commit more work with the under resourced communities, to stand beside them in support of their development, building sustainable, positive relations in which forty-one superheroes from Queensland’s best university helped out with in 2011.
For me 2011 has been the most beautiful years. I have had my fair share of personal achievements this year, but after this trip, they pail in comparison to the achievements of my Big Lifters. Thank you to each and every one of you for opening your eyes, minds, and hearts to the communities in Cherbourg, Eidsvold, and Theodore. Thank you for demonstrating genuine leadership, commitment, care, and patience with the founding members, each other, and most definitely the people, young and old. You have all changed my life.
President of QUT Big Lift
This is Nathan here. On the first full day in Eidsvold I helped out at the old RSL being converted into a youth centre for the local kids. We dug garden beds, planted trees, mowed and fixed the fence to name just a few jobs. You can imagine, doing all of this in the intense heat of Northern Queensland would be quite draining, and sure enough we had to stop regularly for drink breaks. The day after, myself and some other keen individuals helped to finish off a hole for a memorial fountain, designed by our very own Marcia and Kathryn. We finished that in approximately an hour and made our way to the historical society to help out. At the historical society me and the other boys helped to move historical railway carriages, remove weeds from amongst ancient machine parts and re-stack planks that had a whole eco-system of their own underneath! The most fulfilling part of this day for me was being able to interact with the old men who were helping us, and learning more about not only the history of the objects we were working with, but individual stories as well. Being able to help at Eidsvold has really emphasised to me the importance of having an understanding and a relationship with the people you’re helping. We made many great friends and I truly believe that without the lovely and genuine people in Eidsvold our experience would not have been nearly as good.
The experiences and opportunities we took and gave in Eidsvold are ones money just can’t buy. We thank the members of the Eidsvold community dearly for all their support and we are very keen on re-visiting. Although we were about 2 hours late for Theodore because the air con in the bus stopped working and Duncan had to fix it, I’m sure no body was complaining about having to stay in Eidsvold for an extra 2 hours.
On an end note, we just want to say YEAH BUDDY!
This is Teleah updating you all on some of the events of the Big Lift Team, all the way from Eidsvold, Queensland. The two days we spent there were more than eventful. Our days consisted of A LOT of manual labour in various areas within the community. Some students participated in an Optiminds project, where they grouped up with students from Eidsvold State School and worked with them on activities, which melted their brains. This small school catered for 86 students all the way from prep to grade 12. I was paired up with the lovely Leonie and we took our 5 kids outside to play our first game. If anyone knows the game Jenga, it was the same theory, however we used wooden blocks and they were significantly larger. Admittedly, we built the tower up almost as high as Leonie and I (about 150cm ;) ) which was a little awkward because some of these kids were taller than us. At the end of the day, the kids from all groups gathered together and we all played a few games together. I wasn’t very good at them to be honest and I learnt that those kids are A LOT better than me at any game involving numbers. Our final goodbye consisted of 3 ‘fireworks’ from the students, which were 3 loud claps and a giant YEAH BUDDY for some of the most amazing kids I have ever met in my life. It was great to know they had a good time and that we made an impact on them all. I felt like I really connected with the kids in a way that cannot be explained in words. They are such smart kids and they will all go such a long way, they just need the opportunities.
It’s day two of our life changing adventure and my oh my have we been doing some big lifting!
Most eyes were open by 6:30am, an early but eager start for our team. Big lifting tunes blared through the house and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one impressed by Michael and Jelena’s performance of Superbass!
Showered, fed and packed up ready to go, we assembled in the yard for some energising morning games – Aru-cha-cha put a smile on everyone’s face =), while Little Sally has become a group favourite (a game that involves showing just how groovy your moves are!).
After meeting Mayor Sam Murray of Cherbourg, we split up into 3 groups – 2 groups for tree planting and 1 group for rubbish removal. Members of the community drove us to the tree planting sites while giving us some local knowledge along the way.
We planted trees with members of the community and were honoured to meet some of Cherbourg’s local elders! The Murri Rangers helped us to dig holes while the students of Cherbourg school joined in to give us a hand. It wasn’t too long before a dance circle was formed between the students and some our of Big Lifters. Despite Michael’s impressive efforts, the students weren’t as keen to show us their moves as we were to show them ours.
One of our Big Lifters found some heritage in Cherbourg! Her grandfather was a stockman in Cherbourg and her father John grew up in the town. Imagine the surprise on Emma’s face when one of the community members Percy, knew exactly who she was talking about when she mentioned her father’s name.
Back to the council office for a BBQ lunch and an inspirational speech by the Mayor. It think it’s safe to say that we all left full and satisfied!
A final clean up of the house and an extra clean of the bathroom (thanks to our dirty feet!) and we were back on the bus, ready to say goodbye to the inspirational community of Cherbourg.
Currently on our way to Eidsvold for a 2 night stay. Bonds have been formed throughout the team which will only grow stronger as we continue our journey.
I am so proud of our QUT Big Lifters!
(AKA Magical Miki) =)
Hey guys, its Kass Buckle here - one of The QUT Big Lift crew members!! I've been busy of late contacting the Indigenous communities of Woorabinda and Cherboug - who can't wait to have us visit! It's not every day that 45 city students offer to volunteer their time and services to the wider rural Queensland! Hailing from little o' Tannum Sands myself, I know first hand the challenges that smaller towns face when trying to achieve community service goals. I also know first hand the beauty and heart of smaller towns and can't wait to share and discover more of the beautiful state we live in!
Exciting times ahead guys - make sure you get on board and stay up to date!
High fives to you all!
QUT BIG LIFT
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