Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 26

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.

3 March 2013 – 4 days to home!

Another night shift. Last one, thankfully. I’m wrecked.

On shift today, I started in the canteen with C, then ran the iPads tonight. Had a couple of issues, where I ran out of iPads, but I survived. P told me to take a break at one point because he was worried about my hydration. Gave me an opportunity to talk with one of the guys – an Iraqi who has an 18 day old child. It must be so tough for him. He shared some of his story, and seems like a really nice guy. It’s a real shame he’s here, like every other person here.

Mentally – wrecked. I’m so tired. I was rosered on for a day shift tomorrow, but I talked to P [guy in charge of rostering] and told him that I would be useless, so I’ve got the day off. Will be good to rest, then two day shifts before I head home.

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 25

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.

2 March 2013. 5 days to home.

Another night shift. I knew it was a bad sign when I was yawning at lunch time. I’m feeling really tired, but I’ve got to go on.

They changed how they did the internet, running it out of room 3 and 4. It’s better, as it’s cooler, but a bit more stressful as you can have more guys around you. At least when it was room 5, you could keep them out of the room.

Mentally – super tired. I wanted to go to church tomorrow, but I think I might sleep or watch a movie instead.

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 24

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.

1 March 2013. 6 days to home.

My day off today, and boy do I need it. Starting to feel really tired – I’m rarely getting up before 7am.

I watched some Star Trek today, and did some reading. Also got to chat with Liesl and Annabelle tonight. Can’t wait to see them again.

Water restrictions are getting a bit old. They need to fix one of the pumps, but that will take time. Until then, you need to plan when you will take a shower, and hope they don’t cut the water off early.

Worked out today that I can transfer movies to my phone [from my eeepc, which didn’t have enough memory to play the movies] and watch them on there. I’ll be watching a few movies over the next couple of days.

Mentally – good, but tired.

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 23

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.

28 February 2013. 7 Days to Home!

Quiet day today. Night shift again. This afternoon, we had a supply of iPad Chargers delivered, so we now have more chargers than iPads. It means we can give a charger out with each iPad, so they will keep their charge throughout the day. I have a feeling that with a better battery, they will actually have better WiFi reception, and hopefully less problems.

Helped one guy with a Quran today. I’m hoping that I might be able to open up a conversation with him, that might lead to a conversation about the Bible. We’ve got an Arabic Bible, so that might be helpful.

Mentally – Good. Feeling tired with these night shifts, and I have another two after tomorrow’s day off. I’m hoping for some day shifts to finish off our time here.

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.

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 21

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.
26 February 2013. 9 days to home.

Day off today. I spent most of it reading God’s Politics. It’s a great books, with lots of great ideas – I think I dog-eared every second page in the poverty section.

The overall guiding principle behind the boos was not just to complain, but to provide a credible solution to the problem. I can see many areas in Australian politics where this prophetic voice is needed.

Talked to Liesl tonight. It was her first day at placement, and while really tough, it was a really good day. She’s going to love it there, and do incredible work.

Mentally – Good. Thoughts are starting to turn towards home, so I need to remain focused while I’m here.

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 20

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.
25 February 2013. 10 days to home!

First official shift in SAMs today. Worked in the canteen all day with C – was a breeze. C said she came out of shift feeling energised for the first time, because there was no overly tense moments for her.

She noted that for everyone that I served, I tried to use their name. This was something that I wanted to do in families but didn’t get a chance – however I think it is so vital. For so many things, they are known by their boat identifier number, and if we are not careful that is all they will know themselves by.

Last night in church we sane “He knows my name” – never has it had more meaning for me than here.

Received word that I have officially been accepted into my MDiv program today.

Mentally – great. Day off tomorrow, but my pen is dying. I don’t think it will last till I get home.

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 19

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.
24 February 2013. 11 days to home.

Day shift today. There was a car accident this morning with left the SAMs team short, so I helped them out today. Looked after the iPads, which was good, but I don’t get much of an opportunity to interact with the guys.

When the new roster came out, I saw that I’ve now been moved to SAMs. Some of the other cadets wanted to move to Families, and I was ok with moving to SAMs after a couple of good shifts in there.

Church tonight was good, and I was able to show W and the others my daughter. They loved her – commended on how beautiful she was.

Mentally, I’m doing ok. A couple of good shifts in SAMs has me feeling OK about a permanent move there.

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 18

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.
23 February 2013. 12 days to home.

Day off today. Went to the beach for a swim with N and C, then went for a walk to see the Mangrove. Even though I put sunscreen on, I got pretty badly sunburnt. Will be much more careful from now on.

This afternoon, I finished some more sketches of music. I now have ideas for the beginning, middle and end. I can’t wait to get home and start orchestrating it and putting it together in full. I think it should be really good.

Tonight, we had a local band and dancers come to entertain the fmailies. It was so wonderful to see them with huge smiles on their faces, dancing, and interacting with each other – no matter the age or culture barriers.

I was reminded of numerous episodes of M*A*S*H, where such celebrations were always put back in their place when the hard reality of war came back with more casualties. I was wondering whether it was worth it, and whether the community members will face the harsh reality of tomorrow, that of continues indefinite detention. But then I am reminded of the numerous times Hawkeye or Father Mulchahy sucessfully pointed out that even just an hour where people can forget about the fact that they are living in a hell hole is worth all of the harsh realities. And I think that is the truth. While the reality may hit hard, the hour or two of joy tonight was certainly worth it.

Mental state – Great. Got to talk to Liesl and Annabelle today, and was great to see them. It’s tough for them, but I know they support me through this, and I couldn’t do it without that.

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 17

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.
22 February 2013. 13 days to home.

I’ve started planning my days – putting it into the calendar of my phone. It’s working pretty well, and is allowing me to start achieving stuff, like learning Greek, and getting through my books.

Night shift today. Worked in canteen and helped the Tamil guys spread some sand around their volleyball court. I love how much pride they take in it – it’s gone from a vacant space to a proper beach volleyball court, with poles cemented in, and wool and pegs marking out the boundary. All they really need is some stronger string, as the wool keeps breaking.

R came up to me at dinner tonight and asked if I could go into SAMs, as they were short staffed. I said sure, and then freaked out a little bit. I went into my room and had to psych myself up a bit. The night went well, with only a couple of hiccups, and I think I handled myself well. Makes me a little less nervous if I get moved to SAMs next week.

Mentally – good. While I needed to encourage myself, I was strong and competent throughout the night.