The goal of our Cape York Immersion is to foster community involvement and an opportunity for everyone to be able to closely interact with the local indigenous groups. We wanted to be able to contribute to the community whilst still learning and immersing ourselves in indigenous culture. To achieve this, our group helped host a NAIDOC week lunch, in which all members of the Hopevale community came to have a feed. The meats were entirely cooked by Salesian students, while our group seamlessly integrated into the hospitality and service team, embracing the communal spirit of the occasion.
NAIDOC celebrations are important to community health and to community connections. The project is also important because community and family connections are fostered over food in a traditional manner. Cooking and serving the food helps to bring the community together. The resounding success of the NAIDOC festivities left an indelible mark on our hearts, leaving us humbled and deeply appreciative of the opportunity to participate in this cherished celebration.
Embarking on the Immersion journey provided us with a unique and unforgettable experience. The mornings greeted us with warm, tropical weather with marked a refreshing departure from Melbourne’s cold winter. Our accommodation, though modest, introduced us to a simpler way of life – a drop toilet enclosed within a tin hub, a shower nestled among the rocks, its privacy ensured by rustic enclosures, and invigorating cold water. Throughout our Immersion journey, we had many remarkable moments that have profoundly impacted our perspectives. Upon reflection many of the students described the experience as ‘life-changing’ and ‘ground breaking’.