On Monday 4 May 2015, twenty-five brave year ten students and four even braver teachers set off on the Prospector train for Kalgoorlie.
The five days following would be a ‘service trip’ to the school and community of Kurrawang. Kurrawang is a small Christian Aboriginal Mission Station situated in-between Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie. The local CAPS school (Christian Aboriginal Parent run Schools) has a small number of students from three to year five years old and one full-time classroom teacher.
Southern Hills Christian College has been visiting this community and assisting with construction and in the classroom since 2012 and every year we receive a warm welcome from the smiling faces of the children.
Our mission for the week was to pour into the community and assist in any way that we could. Each day our students worked in groups, rotating between cooking, helping out in the classroom and in construction. In the small amount of time that we were there, our students assisted in repainting and putting up a ceiling in the toilet block, planting a vegetable and flower garden. Our duties also included cooking recess and lunch for the school children and working one-on-one with the indigenous students in class, imparting knowledge, skills and encouragement.
The local pastor, Mr Stokes, took the time to speak to our year ten’s. He shared some of his life story and just how very greatful he was to Southern Hills for continuing to visit their small community and share with them.
While in Kalgoorlie, we also took the time to do some sight-seeing, visiting the Superpit, local museum and even an old establishment with a floor-window into an old mine shaft. Our students enjoyed learning about the history of the place they had spent the week working in. We were also lucky enough to stumble across a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition at the museum which showcased his inventions in sketch and model form.
Each year, through the short time spent at Kurrawang, we see a change in our students. Through their experiences with a different culture and way of life we see a shift in their thinking, their values and perspectives. We arrived home with a more mature, compassionate and thoughtful group of students than when we left and it was a pleasure and an honour as teachers to work alongside them.