On 21 January, eight of our WA region members had the privilege of participating in a Family Day Picnic organised by the Sister Kate’s Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation (SKHCAC). This event was being organised to celebrate the success of their programmes and to launch some new initiatives.
We discovered that the aim of this group is to provide programmes that address the intergenerational trauma and recovery of their people impacted by the “stolen generations.” There is an emphasis on creating a sense of hope, culture, country and place of belonging and a strong focus on cultural, social and emotional well being. There is a commitment to community engagement, with the purpose of creating positive and healing relationships with the wider community.
Late last year we made an approach to this group, through one of our members known to them professionally. We requested their assistance for our members to learn more of Aboriginal spirituality and this request led to discussions and “yarnings”. Their members met with some of us, explored the aims of our organisation, enquired about Sai Baba, discovering that we shared similar spiritual beliefs – that divinity is in all. They invited us to participate and assist them with the Family Day event.
It was most uplifting to meet their people, share in activities and hear the aims and achievements of their organisation. There was a great emphasis on the honouring of their elders, who were presented with a gift and bouquet by the lovely children – their grand children and great grand children. There was a book launch of inspiring quotes and sayings of the elders. We found it very moving.
Our involvement included helping to set up the activities, prepare salads for lunch and bring vegetarian food for the picnic. We joined in the creation of a “Tree of Life” to be included in their healing centre, played volley ball and offered face painting. We were warmly welcomed and told that we were the first group to be named as their “Friends of Sister Kate’s Homees.”
We are looking forward to continuing our relationship of friendship and as part of this have been invited to assist with an event in March.
Here is an account of the experience shared by one of our members:
“From the moment I arrived at the Tomato Lake site I instantly felt welcomed and befriended. After moving chairs and tables we proceeded with the task of setting up the Volleyball net and court. With the sun beating down we were soon covered with beads of sweat. Yet unperturbed by this we worked together as a team in erecting this huge net only to move to another location to be in the shade. It was a sight and sense of satisfaction to see that the structure remained steady throughout the day. We then proceeded to cut, peel and prepare the vegetables. It was great to hear comments from our hosts that ‘who are these people’, ‘they work like machines’ and ‘how much do we pay them’, only to find that we were merely a bunch of volunteers led by a great humanitarian who taught us to serve selflessly and love everyone unconditionally. The highlight was being invited to paint a leaf onto a canvas as a mark of respect and commemorating our time together. This was capped off with a beautiful song and reading from the book launch which was the main reason for our gathering.”
For us, as members of the SSIO, we strive to practise the spiritual lessons we have learnt- Importantly, to offer service of relevance and learn the culture of the place where we thrive and live. We are grateful to be provided the opportunity to learn from, and be with our Aboriginal friends as they embark on this chapter of their spiritual journey.
Here is a quote from the Book of Affirmations of the Elders launched on the day:
Love, acceptance and mutual respect
is the essence of the Divine:
These three words,
if put into positive action,
can make all the difference in your life.
Baal boola kadjan birdiya
Yeye dambart waangk mooditj koorl
Noona kwoba yirang koorl