On Sunday 20 June, our 2021 Alice Springs Immersion Group set off with the hope of reconnecting with the fellas from St Joseph’s Flexi Learning Centre. Despite Government restrictions being put in place for NSW after the group left, they were able to follow the program with the one exception – they could not go on site at St Joseph’s as the community elders did not want people from Sydney there. This was something the group were happy to abide by out of respect for our First Nations voices. Nevertheless, the fellas chatted to our boys online and explained the places on Country they were going to visit each day, and even cooked ‘roo tail for the group to enjoy, albeit without them.
From ANZAC Hill to King’s Canyon, the group learnt about the abundance of life and culture in the Red Centre. This immersion broadened horizons and questioned what they thought they knew about Aboriginal Spirituality. With the hours of travelling, conversations with the fellas and the bond of the group, they developed a new admiration and appreciation for the land and how it gives and takes. From Uluru they discovered how each fold and hole contributed to the Kuniya and Liru dreamtime story and much more. There is no doubt that this experience was at times challenging, however, through these challenges our boys were able to immerse themselves more fully in a new culture and returned home better people for it.