Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

Some new beginnings in our volunteering life…

with 4 comments

It is now getting pretty close to the one year anniversary when we made the difficult decision to leave Ghana;  bringing to a close our first (but certainly not our last!) international volunteering assignment.  My health has improved markedly in the past year, and the doctors are still optimistic that I will make a full recovery by the year’s end.  I certainly hope so!   This past week has taken its toll on me somewhat;  but the work I am now doing, working with Indigenous Australian communities in the northwest part of Australia, in the stunning Kimberley region, is rewarding indeed.

David and Mar - Independent Directors

At our October Board meeting, I will be made an official “Independent Director” of two Aboriginal Trusts;  the Gelganyem and Kilkayi Trusts (the latter is pronounced “Gill Guy”).  This is a position that will be at least two years in duration, so our international volunteering has been put on hold for the time being.  Over this current two week period, I am up here to sit in on some “Planning Meetings” that occur every six months with the Project Manager  (Chris) and the Traditional Owners of the 7 Dawang

the Kilkayi project guys - Henry (front) and Chris (Project Manager)

groups (Dawangs are like clan groups).  My off-sider is David, who is the other Independent Director.  We spent the first week together, participating in these meetings, but he has now flown back home (near Adelaide), so I will be flying solo for the second week (along with Chris). 

One of the things I am struck by is the similarities with some of the work Mark and I were doing in Ghana. 

Meeting under a tree

Here, too, we have meetings under the trees!  And here, too, the concept of Western TIME (ie: we start at 10 am), is a flexible one….   But most importantly, I believe the work here is good, and I really hope that my professional expertise, as well as my personal experiences as an Indigenous person, will join together in allowing me the opportunity to make a difference. 

I’ll be writing more in the coming weeks/ months about my work up here in the Kimberley, but for now, thought I would just lay the ground work a little, so you can start to see who I am working with, and the kinds of places I am working!  

Participants at one of the Kilkayi planning meetings

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Written by Mar(k)

September 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Fascinating, and very inspiring Mar. Love to hear all about this new period in your life!

    Ron

    Ron Ogden

    September 12, 2011 at 6:45 am

    • thanks Ron! It is a really wonderful experience, and I feel priviledged to be able to share the journey with the Traditional Owners. I will look forward to sharing more stories as we move forward! cheers – Mar.

      Mar(k)

      September 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm

  2. It sounds very interesting and rewarding for you. You are an inspiring person and it’s great to read about what you are doing.

    karena

    September 13, 2011 at 9:26 am

    • thanks Karena! : ) it is very rewarding work – so as with all things philanthropic, you get out much more than you put in!!!

      Mar(k)

      September 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm


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