After 4 weeks on the road and 5000km I am back in Broome. It was an 800km drive (9 hours) back to Broome. I am so incredibly grateful to everyone I have met on the trip. There were 2 items on my Kimberley bucket list that I managed to do - a cruise on Lake Argyle (includes a sunset swim) and to drive over the Ivanhoe water crossing (yes there are saltwater crocodiles in the water). The Ivanhoe Crossing was the original road from Wyndham to Kununurra. It only takes a couple of minutes to drive over and is a lot of fun!
This photo is of my students at Jungdranung Remote Community school (Glen Hill Station). I was informed the 33km drive in from the highway was very rocky, well that was all true! I didn't need to put my tyres down this time and enjoyed the incredible scenery in. If you ever wanted to experience the outback, come for a drive with me next year to this school. The ranges, the boab trees, windmills, the secret gorges and the wildlife you see truly makes you feel proud to be Australian! Most of remote WA is dominated by cattle stations. The locals (cattle) are inquisitive but also shy. The photo below was on my exit from the school. I stopped many times to take photos of the spectacular scenery.
It has certainly been a busy Term 3 and I would like to thank the students, staff and community members from the following schools and organisations that I have delivered the project to:
- Broome Senior High School - Girls Academy
- North Metropolitan TAFE Broome
- Ngalapita Remote Community School
- Kulkarriya High School (Nookenbah)
- Wananami Remote Community School (Mt Barnett)
- Halls Creek High School
- Ngalangangpum School (Warmun)
- Frog Hollow Community School
- East Kimberley College - Girls Academy (Kununurra)
- Jungdranung Remote Community School
A special thank you to Save the Children Foundation Kununurra and Broome Youth and Families Hub for having me run photography sessions for the local youths.
Each place I have visited I have been so impressed with the teachers who go above and beyond their duties to ensure their students get the best education. It truly is an honour to visit these schools and I was granted special access because of COVID to enter these communities. Photography is a gift that I love sharing with students. The photos the students take are incredible, many youths have never picked up a camera before. I cannot wait to set the gallery up to show you the immense talent out there. But my project isn't about producing beautiful photos, it is about showing students how to break the cycle of negative thinking through doing something to distract your mind. It also may become a passion! Many teachers commented that they couldn't believe how even the most disengaged students loved photography. I am still trying to find the words to describe all the experiences I have had this month. Perhaps the most poignant moments of the trip was when students shared their sad experiences with me. They humble me. When death, sickness or tragedies happen in these small communities, grief, stress and loss are amplified.
Before I left on my roadtrip, my boss asked me if I was really resigning. Yes was my response, my last shift is end November. It's time to leave. The call to Sydney is stronger than ever. I want to be back in a cardiac ICU. This doesn't mean I won't be back to Broome. Sydney is home. But I know I will be back here in the dry season in 2021 for another roadtrip to revisit these schools as I have been invited back to all of them. Life is too short to never take chances. There is much to do with all youths, not just here in WA.
We all have that inner voice, sometimes we choose to ignore it. Maybe fear or vulnerability stops us from pivoting in the direction our soul calls us to go. If there is one thing I know, that voice will keep getting louder until you choose to act on what it is telling you. These 3 years in Broome have gifted me experiences, friendships and opportunities I couldn't have dreamed of. A lot of healing for me personally has happened here in Broome and now I am ready to go home, to Sydney. If I didn't listen to my inner voice that was telling me to come to Broome, I don't believe I would be the person I am today or that my project would be where it is at right now.
If you are not sure what to do when your inner voice is speaking to you, quieten your mind and listen to what it is telling you. You will know. You just will. Don't be afraid and don't let others' opinions cloud your decision. Trust it. Regret is always stronger than fear.