Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 13

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.
18 February 2013.

Day shift today. Started off hanging with some of the Tamils. One guy, Y, I’ve been seeing a bit. He’s always very friendly, and keen to know what I’ve been up to. While we were sitting down, I noticed that he was rocking forwards and backwards. I talked to J [the psychologist provided for the staff to use if needed] about it, and he said it could be a number of things, and it’s worth following up. I didn’t get a chance today, but certainly will tomorrow.

Spent this afternoon in the canteed, and it was hectic. We had toys for the kids to buy [they get points from things such as going to school, and can use them in the canteen], and they didn’t care about anything else. Once it was all over, I realised that I needed to take myself out for a bit. I went and got a coffee, cleared my head, then went back in.

It was in this break that I realised that I was an Introvert in an extrovert society. All around the base, you can’t get away from people. You’re working amongst lots of people, eating with lots of people, you’re even sharing your bedroom with other people. I need to be aware of my energy levels, and make sure I allow myself time to recharge.

Mentally – Ok. Missing Liesl and Annabelle, and will refresh myself tonight with a couple of Star Trek Episodes.

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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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