Red Earth Immersion inspires students

They returned dusty, red and tired but full of wonderful stories to tell and many pictures to share.

The IGS Red Earth Immersion crew had a great trip to the APY Lands, where they enjoyed learning from the Anangu people.

The Year 9 students slept in swags underneath the dazzling Australian night sky, hunted for maku (witchetty grubs), Tjala (honey ants), Malu Wipu (Kangaroo tail), took part in dances and were even painted by the Indigeneous community.

This was the School’s sixth visit to the Yunyarinji community, also known as the Kenmore Park mob.

“We were the first school to visit this community through Red Earth in 2014 and we have become firm friends ever since,” Red Earth Immersion Coordinator and Language Teacher at IGS, Lucy said.

“They have graciously and enthusiastically welcomed us and shared their culture. This is something our kids and teachers will never forget.

“This was a significant and incredible first hand opportunity, to not only give back through the community project, continuing to build and add on to a bush campsite for the Kenmore community, but to also take part in some amazing cultural activities.”

While they visited many natural icons including Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Watarrka (Kings Canyon), Lucy said without a doubt, the most amazing part of the trip was the chance to stay with the Anangu people on their land.

“To see the land and culture from their perspective, to see first hand their rich language and culture, and to learn and experience ‘on country’ in such an exquisite setting is life changing,” she said.

“Unlike the famous tourist areas, you cannot visit the APY lands and their communities without being invited and receiving a permit to do so.

 

“This year due to unprecedented interest we had two groups of 18 students.

“As we had two groups it meant we visited two communities. Fregon, otherwise known as Kiltiji and also Yunyarinyi (Kenmore Park),” Lucy said.

“It was an experience of a lifetime and the IGS students were absolutely phenomenal. They were interested, engaged, willing to look at new perspectives and fantastic travellers.”

Elina De Rosnay of Year 9 said she knew the Red Earth trip would have an impact on her and was “ready to take everything in, including the culture, the history and the different ways of living whilst on this trip”.

“I completely underestimated the beauty of the landscape, the fresh smell of the air, and the colour of the earth. It was all just overwhelmingly beautiful,” Elina said.

Each day there was someone new to meet, to hear their stories, some new kingdom of red earth and blue skies to soak in and explore and the learning of more of the Pitjantjatjara language.

“Going on this trip has been one of the most educational, eye opening and amazing experiences I’ve ever had, and I will remember it for a long time.

“Ever since I’ve returned from central Australia, nearly every day I’ve been thinking back about how different living is out there and how different the earth is and even just the taste of the water. I am so glad I got to participate in this immersion experience and I recommend that everyone take the opportunity to go. It is the opportunity of a lifetime and will change you forever.”