Friday, 22 February 2013

Two Special Ladies - Part Two - Ruby

 Behind us, Weilmoringle.

Ahead of us, in the village of Enngonia, an hour and a half down this road, was Ruby.

Julie was particularly keen for us to meet Ruby, as on a previous visit she had called Julie inside as Julie passed her house in the village and showed Julie the emu eggs she carves.

Ruby and Julie on Julie's first visit.

Ruby is very proud of her eggs and is working on carving a special one for each member of her family. She keeps them carefully in the blue container you can see on the table. Each one has a unique design made just for that particular person but is based on traditional designs handed down from past. 

Each egg is designed for the person who will receive it.
She may look shy in the photo but Ruby loves having visitors and says it is rather quiet in Enngonia otherwise. Ruby made us most welcome the day we were there, providing us with a cool drink, a tour of her family photos and information about the local natural area  She has a lot of knowledge about special spots to go to, particularly good places to camp,where the local people still gather as they have for generations.

We only met her for about an hour but felt we were friends already.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Two Special Ladies - Part One - Josie

One of the privileges of this job is the opportunity it provides to meet new people and to experience different places. On recent trips to Enngonia and Weilmoringle we met up again with two ladies well known to Julie - Josie and Ruby.

        Josie, you have met before. She lives in Weilmoringle in a house at one end of the small village. Earlier in the year Julie and Josie had met up at the tennis,drumming and preschool community day held in June and she was the inspiration behind the Book Buddies project through her discussions about pre-school.

Josie ,in a familiar role,surrounded by kids.
 Josie, a retired teachers- aid, runs a playgroup and at the community progress meetings in Weilmoringle had been pressing for a preschool to better prepare children and families for school. This is where Julie met Josie and now they work side by side; Julie to bring expertise, ideas and make contacts and Josie; living and working each day within her community, having ideas and advising on local context, to improve opportunities for the people of Weilmoringle. 

Weilmoringle Primary school and playground
After the Book Buddies day we had dinner in the teacher house near the school where we were staying for the night. Josie and her sisters were invited to share a meal with us. We had a wonderful time and talked freely of many things. We felt we had the privilege to glimpse something of the perspective of women descended from a very ancient culture,where the people love the land and understand it well. 

As they talked that night of the land and life in the village, it reminded those there, who had visited in June, of the time Josie took a small group to see the scar tree. What started as a walk with a mission in mind became an interesting journey as Josie explained aspects of the land to the visitors. She talked about the uses of various plants and pointed out significant landmarks. She knew the area in great detail and shared aspects of her knowledge with her visitors. 

It was a very special time, one of those which stays in your memory, as they saw the land through new eyes.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Behind the Scenes of the Book Buddies Project

For some time Julie has been visiting the isolated north-western community of Weilmoringle. She is now friends with Josie, who is one of the elders there. Josie has a vision for her community, which involves improved relationships and more education for community members. 

Josie in a familiar role,surrounded by kids.
Their discussions led to a realisation of the lack of availability of books in the village. (The closest book shop is Dubbo, 4-5 hours away) Books in homes lead to reading and familiarity with books. This all helps with building relationships at home as adults and children enjoy doing something together, and with pre-literacy, as part of getting ready for school.

This led to the idea of a joint project between the Uniting Church Rural Chaplaincy and a larger city institution,church or school, which could partner Weilmoringle and provide books to the children in the village several times a year.
Mosman Preparatory School for Boys in Sydney heard of the project and was keen to get involved.They saw opportunities to make a difference in Weilmoringle and to benefit the students at their own school as well.
Meredith with her library class at Mosman Prep.
Mosman Prep donated money to supply the books and will continue to do this 3-4 times each year to keep up a constant supply of books to the community. In addition, they funded the school librarian, Meredith Ryals, to visit for 3 days, which she did, giving up her holiday time to do so.
Meredith of Mosman
And so it was that  Meredith of Mosman, found herself in Weilmoringle in December last year at the first Book Buddies launch, * accompanied by Sue and Julie, who introduced her to the school and the community. She looks forward to many more such visits and realises that her students will benefit just a much as the Weil. kids from the association. 
                                              Thank you, Mosman Prep for your generosity.    


* See December 20th, 2012 blog - Book Buddies in Weilmoringle, Apologies to Banjo Patterson.


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