Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 5

In 2013, myself and 5 other cadets from Catherine Booth College, along with three staff, went to Manus Island, PNG, as part of our training, to work as part of The Salvation Army’s Humanitarian team working in the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre. Four years on, I’ve decided to share my diary from that experience. Names have been changed, and I acknowledge that the centre has changed a lot since then, but it is my hope that this will share a bit of light into how our government is treating Asylum Seekers.

10 February 2013. Today was a good day. I started off the canteen, and spent the morning in there. Nice and cool, and out of the sun, however it gives me little opportunity to interact with the community members. I think if I am in there again, I will try and use their names as much as I can, and try and engage them when tehy are not busy.

In the afternoon, I was again in the canteen, but I had some time off afterwards to “loiter with intent.” It’s something I am getting better at, though I still feel slightly uncomfortable. I might need to start asking more questions, instead of just answering and answer more fully – look for opportunities to share my story.

Tonight, P [The Salvation Army program director] ran into me outside using the internet, and asked me to share in a service with the Persian Christians by playing Guitar. It was a great time, to worship freely with these people, who were persecuted for doing to in Iran.

Mood – Good, but sad that Annabelle is sick with conjunctivitis, and that it will affect Liesl’s intensive.

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Author: Ben Clapton

I'm an Officer in The Salvation Army, currently appointed with my wife as Corps Officers at the Rochester Corps in country Victoria (20 minutes out of Echuca). I play violin and guitar, amongst many others, and love golf and running.

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