If you follow me on Facebook, you will know that my big girl left yesterday for a very exciting week in the far north of our state – Kununurra, in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia, a three hour plane flight direct from Perth. An area of incredible beauty and rugged landscape, countless gorges, waterfalls and rivers…massive lakes of water….and crocodiles!! Huge ones.She was lucky enough to be chosen as part of a group of 8 girls and 2 teachers to spend a week in a mission outreach in the Kununurra Catholic school. The school caters for Kindy through to year 7 and is primarily Aboriginal.
It is sure to be a real eye opener for these 8 girls, from such privileged city backgrounds. For a start, they will be taking turns preparing the evening meal for the group and they are sleeping on yoga mats in the school library and need to be dressed and ready for their working day by 7.30am. They will spent 5 or so hours most days, assisting in the classrooms and will sight see in the later afternoon when its cooler. 35 degrees celcius during the day – whilst its winter in Perth!
An experience such as this is sure to touch her life for a very, very long time to come. Hopefully, if she is wise, forever. A realisation of just how good they have it at home and how many of the children that they will meet, have to deal daily with poverty and discrimination, not to mention the problems the indigenous community has with alcohol and abuse in so may parts of Australia.
She has been so excited. I love her adventuring spirit and her ability to show such courage and strength to tackle new challenges head on. There was absolutely no way I would have applied for this trip at age 15 but for her it was a must, a no brainer and luckily for her, her teachers thought she was capable of the demands of this trip and the ability to catch up a weeks worth of missed school upon her return.
You may be wondering what on earth a painting of pomegranates and another of peaches has to do with travel and adventure? Well, this is my Grandmother’s pottery painted with the fruit. My grandparents, Mutti (Dorothy Mc Carthy)and Pit Pat (Peter St Barbe Connor) practically wrote the book on travel and adventuring! In fact, my Grandfather even took guided tours in his 4WD Land Drover to much of Western Australia’s coast and spent time with Mutti in the Kimberley area. My mother has a newspaper clipping from the 1950’s/60’s, that writes how Mutti was one of the first white women to be allowed into a certain area in the far North. Mum is searching the family scrapbooks for it as I type.
Along with my grandparents, the travel bug is well and truely ensconced in the family. 3 pilots (Pit Pat was a keen recreational pilot in the 1930’s) and my father and brother, commercial pilots, travelling the world as a career. That says it all!! Between Dudie’s family and mine, most continents of the world have been either lived in or visited over the last few generations.
I am yet to totally catch the travel bug. I know it is harbouring somewhere deep in my bones, waiting for the right moment in time to reveal itself when school and growing children are not such a priority. I travelled extensively as a child (as happens in the airline industry) and possibly, this has made me a little more immune to the constant need to jump on a plane to some exotic destination. We have plans though and even plans are very exciting.
Bel’s trip? I’m more than a little green-eyed. I am seriously wanting to see the Kimberley…camera in hand, Dudie and the girls by my side. That red dirt and those pristine waterways are calling my name and my paintbrush to come and see them.
For now though…I will live vicariously through my adventuring daughter and the lens of her compact camera and maybe one day, SHE will show ME the sights of the far north.
I hope you like these two recent paintings…awaiting the Art Expo in October. Maybe, when Bel gets back next weekend, she will have a few good photographs of our beautiful North country that could be turned into oil paintings. Wouldn’t that be good?