Santa Teresa Experience
During the term 1 holidays, 18 year 10 students from Good Sam Colleges across NSW travelled to Santa Teresa, near Alice Springs. The journey was for a week with the purpose to learn what it is like to live in a remote indigenous community. Our guide was Sr Liz Wiemers, a Good Samaritan Sister, who has been an advocate for the Santa Teresa community for many years. During our time away there were numerous confronting and also uplifting experiences that impacted the group.
Our role in the community was to help out in any way that we could. This meant that some days we were packaging food and doing meal drop offs for the locally run Meals on Wheels program, playing with children and experiencing a traditional smoking ceremony; other times it was cleaning the Spirituality Centre, washing Sr Liz’s car and cat sitting. Our experiences were wide and varied, but one that was a stand out for me was attending a home mass. Father Bosco a few times a month holds mass out the front of one of the parishioner’s homes, it is a great privilege and the home is blessed in the process. Reconciliation takes place before the mass in a ute parked in the driveway, locals bring a chair to the yard, and children and dogs run around. Although the mass is not as structured as it would be in church, there was a great sense of being part of a strong community of faith.
Once back from Santa Teresa, we also had the opportunity to explore some of the tourist elements of being in the centre of Australia. Tours of the School of the Air, the Old Telegraph Station, The Royal Flying Doctors Service, Reptile Park and Desert Park all increased our knowledge of the challenges faced by people who live in rural communities. The stark beauty of the landscape was also seen with a day trip to Ormiston Gorge, the Ochre Pitts, Ellery Creek Big Hole and Simpsons Gap.
Student, St Scholastica’s College