Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 6

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.

11 February 2013

I’m really loving it in families. This morning, I filled in where needed, including in the canteen, then in the last 15 minutes helped pull rocks from an area to create a new volleyball court, as the old one was being lost to make a new mess hall. It was mindless work, but I loved it, as the community members pitched in as well, which was fantastic. Instead of getting upset about the loss of their volleyball court, they saw a solution, and worked at getting it ready.

In the afternoon, after shadowing a care worker, I sat and played Monopoly for three hours, with a group of Tamils. I twas the fastest paced Monopoly game I’d ever seen, and I often had trouble keeping up.

Tomorrow, I need to track down X. He’s an Iranian who was fleeing because he played Heavy Metal, and he’s written a poem in Farsi that he wants to turn into a song in English. It will be tricky, but I’d love to spend some time working on it with him.

Annabelle is sick, and will have to stay home all week. Thankfully, Liesl can still finish the unit by finishing the assignments, and will have the remaining sessions recorded so she can still get the info. Mental state – good.

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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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