Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 22

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.
27 February 2013. 8 days to home.

An… interesting day today. Started with reading, I’ve started Miracles, by C.S. Lewis. Hopefully I can understand what he’s saying a bit better this time.

This afternoon I helped out in the canteen. All was going fine until one guy tried to buy something with his friend’s card. I enforced the rules and refused to serve him. He flipped, tried to pull the counter off, swore his head off at me, kicked the door of the canteen, and made quite a commotion outside. I stayed inside, out of harm’s way, but it still got the adrenaline pumping.

Then tonight, due to illness, I ended up shift leading, while two families team members came over to help out. It was a quiet night, but one moment really stuck out. One of the Hazaraghis had got frustrated in the afternoon when we ran out of phone cards. He came up to me tonight, and apologized to me. I told him that I completely understood, and that we were trying to get the system working better. It wasn’t much, but that he made the effort to apologize for his actions really stood out to me.

Mentally – Good, but wondering how my energy levels will go; as for the rest of the week I am on nights.

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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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