Cherbourg, Australia: January 2007

Cherbourg, Australia, Jan 2007

Lab-Rover's Cherbourg Blog is here.

The following information was gathered from the letter Jim received from Global Volunteers. He will be working with Global Volunteers in Cherbourg, Australia this month (January '07).




Some background information:

Jim will be working within an Aboriginal community in the Queensland region along Australia's eastern coast.

Program History & Australia Host Partners

In 2003, Global Volunteers (GV) was invited to partner with our host, the CAMU Community Cooperative Society Ltd. This is a small (ninety member) Aboriginal housing community based in the tropical coastal town of Kennedy and comprised of Girramay tribal members. They struggle with the challenges of inadequate housing, unemployment and dismal economic opportunities. They are among Australia's marginalized Indigenous tribes, descendants of one of the world's oldest continuous cultures. Over the past 200 years, they have suffered disease, social and cultural disruption and brutal mistreatment. As recently as forty years ago, thousands of Indigenous children were still being taken from their families and placed in institutional homes. The Girramay are now striving to overcome their tragic past and move forward to a brighter future.

CAMU has requested GV assistance on a variety of light labor projects as it strives to develop 124 acres of tribal lands in the Kennedy region. In an invitation to Global Volunteers, new host representative Lija "Kaz" Kazlauskas wrote: "Our people are searching for a means of survival that will bring pride back into the community. Your volunteer assistance will make such a difference." In February of 2004, Global Volunteers sent its first team to Australia to begin building the bridges of peace and friendship with the people of Kennedy.

Global Volunteers is also proud to announce a new partnership in Australia. In early 2007, GV will begin sending volunteers to the community of Cherbourg, located near the city of Brisbane in southeast Queensland. Cherbourg is part of the Wakka Waaka tribal boundary, neighboring the Gubbi Gubbi territory in South Burnett County. Cherbourg was formed in 1904 when under the Aborigines Protection Act, this settlement became home to thirty-five forcibly removed tribes. It existed - much as American Indian reservations have - largely as a welfare community, with poverty, illness, illiteracy and hopelessness breeding for more than eighty years. However, the community took matters into its own hands in the late 1980s, and resolved to become self-sufficient. Global Volunteers has been invited to lend support to the people of Cherbourg in their quest for self-determination.

The Work Project

(NEW SITE) In Cherbourg, there are several potential work projects for volunteers to assist with. As is typical with new partnerships, a greater amount of flexibility is needed on the volunteers' part as work projects are subject to change. GV has received invitations from the following community organizations: Gundoo Day Care Centre: A day facility that cares for sixty children aged six weeks to five years and also provides after school and vacation programs. Gundoo ("Mother and Child") Day Care Centre is a non-profit organization which charges the current government fixed-rates for their services. Volunteers have been requested initially to help out at this work site, playing with the older kids, and holding and caring for the babies.

Ny Ky Byun Aged Hostel: The name means "This place belongs to me." This senior and disabled care centre is located next door to the child care center. The facility can house twenty-five residents, and also provides hospital after-care, or short-term respite care. There is an activity room, where a few volunteers may have the opportunity to visit with Hostel residents and engage them in music or crafts activities. Volunteers with arts or musical talent could be especially helpful on this project.

Cherbourg Cultural Centre: A decade ago, the tribe acquired funds to build a cultural/conference center on several acres outside the main town area to teach the community about historical practices and customs, instill pride in Aboriginal youth for their culture, and acquaint the surrounding non-indigenous community with Aboriginal culture by bringing in school groups to work together. However, about four years ago, the funds ran out, and the construction halted. Since then, significant vandalism has occurred. Our hosts are hoping to secure the funds to get the facility back in shape, and have requested volunteers' assistance with the renovation. Potential projects could include helping them to re-install windows and doors, clean up the damage done by vandals, paint walls, clean and landscape the campus, sand and seal floors, and install appliances. Trades people could definitely help with the electrical and plumbing installations, and other handy people could be very helpful in the early stages. Because labor is so very expensive in Australia, Global Volunteers' assistance in this area would be literally invaluable to them.

Jim will work specifically amongst their community medical areas. They do have a Medical Centre, small Hospital, Dental Clinic (with possibly is a full-time dentist), Aged Persons Care facility, Child Care Centre and a Primary School.

Logistics

In Cherbourg, volunteers will fly into Brisbane, where they will be met and transported to Cherbourg, located three hours away. While the Cherbourg Cultural Centre is being renovated, volunteers will have simple accommodations in a local shelter. Once the Cultural Centre is finished, volunteers will have very comfortable lodging there.

Volunteers prepare their own breakfasts, while a community cook prepares lunches and dinners. Australian food is delicious and hearty and often described as very similar to U.S. cuisine. Australians love steak and sausage on the "barbie" - not to mention lamb, poultry and pork, accompanied by a varied array of local fruits and vegetables. The proximity to the coast also means the availability of delicious fresh seafood. Volunteers often get to experience a cuppamurri, a traditional feast in which food is wrapped in tin foil and baked in the sand around a roaring fire.

Free Time

In Cherbourg: The Bunya Mountains National Park is located nearby, and is a beautiful place to hike, picnic, and relax. The park also contains a wildlife area, where visitors are likely to spot many kangaroos, wallabies, and wild birds. Several beaches are within an hour away, and there are six wineries within a half hour of the community. Cherbourg is home to a large Emu farm, which provides daily tours, and the community also produces boomerangs, spears and Aboriginal art.

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This page last updated 29 Oct 2006.