Gäwa - Understanding Both Ways

Bala-Räli Dhara?anmirr (Understanding Bothways)

As we head toward the end of a very unusual year and utter a collective sigh around our lives returning to some sort of COVID normal we are filled with thoughts of getting together with family and friends for Christmas. Our Yolngu friends at Gäwa Christian School, East Arnhem Land, Elcho Island, are also planning for their Christmas celebrations. MECS has a long connection with this remote Indigenous school. We love to be able to assist them to make their celebrations special. MECS has gifted a sum of money to the school which they will use to buy a Christmas gift for each child in their community.

Beautiful Gäwa’s name means ‘Home of the King’. This wonderful Christian school serves the Gäwa community, encouraging students to attend school, be educated, learn and grow resilient, and be able to walk the walk between the world of traditional Yolngu culture and Balanda (Non- Aboriginal/European culture). They undertake all this and more as they work together with community sharing the gospel and life. The teachers at Gäwa are unbelievably dedicated but it isn’t an easy gig and our prayers for them and the community are always welcome. We know how isolated we felt this year. Imagine if you left your family and friends and were called to teach in such a remote place.

MECS Primary has made cards, a small gift, Christmas decorations, and raised money to ensure Gäwa has a Christmas celebration to remember.

This week the Gäwa Senior students will head into Darwin taking the troopies down the bumpy track to the bottom of the island to Galiwin’ku where they will take a small plane across the sea to Darwin. They will choose the gifts, wrap the presents and make ready the celebrations as part of their leadership to their school. We are really pleased that we can assist these young Aboriginal Yolngu leaders to make their school end of year celebrations special.

In recent weeks we have been able to focus on NAIDOC week at MECS. The theme this year being Always Was. Always will Be. developed to shine a focus on the length of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander occupation of Australia. The NAIDOC theme seeks to explore and learn about, and appreciate the wealth and breadth of Indigenous Nations, languages and knowledges of this continent. https://www.naidoc.org.au/resources/teaching-guides

As we work with Gäwa we are helping our students to appreciate and understand a little of Aboriginal students’ lives, language, culture and community. We are partnering together with Gäwa to bless and learn from each other. We are learning two ways this is Bala-Räli Dhara?anmirr (Understanding Bothways)