Fusion Report: 2016 Pilgrims

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Dear Church,

It’s now been more than three weeks since our intrepid 2016 Pilgrims returned from their 11-day expedition to Uluru and back again, and high time you found out what they got up to!

Every year for the past sixteen years, Fusion has sent groups of high-school aged young people through the desert to the heart of our nation, Uluru. But this isn’t just any ‘camp’, our Pilgrims set out as ambassadors for reconciliation, seeking to tread gently with eyes and hearts open, ready to learn, respect and grow together.

“The trip taught me how to show love for people I have only just met and become a family with people I hardly know”

Participant, 14

The bus this year consisted of 10 students and a teacher from Strathalbyn Christian College in Geraldton, 7 students and a teacher from Ellenbrook Christian College in Perth, 3 students from other schools in the Perth area and an additional 6 volunteer leaders – 28 of us in total. Leaving the city behind, we headed along the Great Central Road, staying overnight at the Church of Christ in Merredin; camping at the primary school in Mt Margaret Aboriginal Community; appreciating grass and warm showers at Warburton Roadhouse; and spending a night camping in the bush at Docker River.

Once we eventually arrived at Yulara (the resort town nearest to Uluru) on day five, we were exhausted and smelly but already feeling more like a family than a group of strangers.

We spent the next two and a half days enjoying the sights and sounds of Yulara, connecting with the other Pilgrims who’d travelled from South Australia and Victoria (as well as the Base Camp crew who’d come from all over), meeting the local Anangu people from Mutitjulu Community and, of course, visiting the rock!

“Together we stand strong; the people, the land and the animals. We will band together to sing a song, and on that day we will truly get along”

A poem written by one of our pilgrims as he reflected at Kantju Gorge

A pilgrims reflections

It was a significant moment for all of our pilgrims, getting to see and to touch Uluru and hearing the stories of the Anangu.

We had to change our route home due to a storm that was likely to close the unsealed desert road, and were blessed to have a whole lot of new opportunities; sleeping underground and enjoying a mine and town tour at Coober Pedy; staying at Crossroads Lutheran School in Ceduna; and sleeping in the Norseman Church of Christ.

All of our pilgrims were sad to be heading home and leaving the community we had created together on the bus, but also looking forward to taking what they’d learnt home to their families, their schools and their communities.

Here’s what one of our Peer Leaders had to say about the trip:

At first it will be a struggle, because it might not fit into your ‘everyday life’ or your ‘norm’, but it will quickly become easier. You learn so much about the Indigenous, others in the bus and yourself. You find yourself as you learn about the past. You see the most amazing sites that you cannot experience by looking at a photo. You will feel things that you might not have ever experienced. You get the chance to connect with many communities and are made to feel part of one – I cannot express how special it feels!

 
I believe this trip has changed me for the better; I have gained more respect and feel as though my attitude and outlook on life is more positive. My understanding about myself and the Indigenous is more advanced – there is still so much more to learn but I feel as though, from what I have learnt, I can expand on that and hold onto more of it. I also feel that the trip has changed my understanding of relationships; I will treasure how important relationships can be.

 
I am glad I got to go on this trip as a Pilgrim and not a tourist. We didn’t just pass through the land, the land passed though us. We know the past, now we can change to future!”

Kaitlyn, 16 years old

Please continue to carry our 2016 Pilgrims in your hearts and minds as they work to identify what this experience has meant to them and how they will continue to grow and learn from here, holding on to all they’ve discovered; this is just the beginning!

Help us to keep providing the young people of Perth with opportunities to grow, to learn, and to discover more of who they were created to be by making a donation today. We couldn’t do it without you!

 

»  “I’ve learnt how to become more confident in myself and how to meet new people” – Alyse, 13
» “I have really liked who I’ve been able to be on this trip” – Minna, 16
» “We formed a community” – Kara, 13
» “It will be the best experience of your life” – Participant, 14
» “Go and enjoy it and experience it for yourself!” – Mark L, 14
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Are you interested in joining the Pilgrimage next year as a participant or a leader? Hit the button below to register your interest! 

JOIN THE NEXT PILGRIMAGE

6 May 2016 Fusion news Perth

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