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.

 

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 16

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.
21 February 2013. 14 days to home!

Half way point! S and G left today, and C arrived. We now have less days to go than we have been here. While I am very much looking forward to going home, I will miss the people here a lot as well. I am starting to form close relationships with some of them, and it will be hard to say goodbye.

Today, I had a good chat with V and W and with U at the end of the night. I played Monopoly and Volleyball, and looked after the internet room.

I worked on my Greek this morning, and I feel I’m getting more confident with the letters and sounds.

C brought a package for me from Liesl. My running shirt and shorts, a USB of photos and videos, some printed photos that I can take on shift with me, and a painting that Annabelle did. It’s wonderful – I just need to figure out how to display it.

Mentally – good. Missing Liesl and Annabelle a lot, but getting to the halfway point seemed really quick, so I’m sure I’ll be heading home soon.

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 15

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.
20 February 2013. 15 Days to home.

Day off today. Started off with a bit of a walk with S and N around Lombrum. There’s some wonderful scenery around here, and the old army base provides some interesting photos. I didn’t get everywhere I wanted, but I will have more days off to explore further.

This afternoon was spent reading and watching Star Trek. I also had a chat with G about NT Greek. I realised that I really needed to have been doing more while here, as I’ve missed my opportunity to have G help me. As such, I’m on my own now, so I’ll be spending an hour a day to try and get my head around it.

Talked with Liesl tonight on Facebook. She’s doing well – didn’t hear about Annabelle. It’s tough over Facebook, especially with such little time.

Mentally – great. Feeling refreshed after a day off. Night shift for the next two days, then I get to Facetime Liesl and Annabelle.

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 14

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.
19 February 2013. 16 days to home.

Day shift today. Spent the day in the canteen. Out of the list that I thought would happen, today certainly wasn’t on that list. I got abused over a toy car by a mum.

It was a continuation of the toy cars from yesterday, and the kids wanted to buy the extras. Once we had tracked down all the names on the list, we started selling the cars. They went super quick. One mum was angry that I had told her to come tomorrow, then sold the cars today, so there wasn’t any for her. There wasn’t really anything that I could do, but it still shot my adrenaline levels up high. Once canteen was over, I removed myself for about fifty minutes, so that I could calm down and finish the shift. The rest of the shift went well.

I’ve been reading God’s politics and it’s a really great book. While it focuses on US politics, I think it has a lot to say about Australian politics, especially in an election year.

Mentally – a bit tired from today, but glad to have been able to chat to Liesl. A day off tomorrow will be most appreciated.

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.

Manus Island 2013 – my experiences, pt 12

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.
17 February 2013.

My day off today. Started with church, which was quite an experience. The people are so full of joy! When they sang, one person would start them off, then everyone would break into these incredible harmonies. It was a real joy to be amongst that.

I Facetimed Liesl, which was great – always good to see her and Ananbelle. Annabelle bumped her head at church this morning, and it came up with a bad bruise quickly. She was doing OK when I saw her, but I’m sure it hurt real bad. They had a play date with Daisy (daughter of famous neighbour) today, which went well.

Tonight, we had church with the Tamils and Persians. It was wonderful to share with them, particularly as I preached the message, getting them to focus on what they do have – Jesus Christ – and how they can give that to those around them.

Something that really struck me from both this and last week is their prayer points. They often are large and selfless – praying for peace in the whole world, as opposed to just themselves. They do focus on their own situation as well, but the need of the world are not lost on them either.

Mentally – great. A fantastic, renewing day.