I have lost a day! It’s a most disconcerting feeling. I have been accustomed of late to have a sense of what friends and colleagues in three of four different countries are doing on a given day, and now I don’t even know what I am doing! Two days ago I left the UK on the double long-haul flight to Australia only to find that it was three days ago…
I am what my friend termed a ‘portable’ member of the staff of my organization. Two and a half weeks ago I was asked to consider spending the rest of the year based in Tasmania, Aus. This is where our organization’s headquarters and training hub is. I am to join the team that runs a 6 month residential training course for youth and community workers. Depending on how you choose to view things I could be filling in a gap, coming to the rescue in a crisis, taking a strategic step towards the establishment of a similar course in Europe and Africa in keeping with my general ‘calling’, or just going where my yoke partner seems to be leading. In truth its probably a mixture of all of these things, and as I was reflecting this morning, I may not really know what it was for another 10 years.
But here I am in Poatina, weathering one of its famous wind storms that seem to arrive with alarming punctuality just before the arrival of large numbers of visitors to the village. Tomorrow, we begin the July Foundations course which will have approximately 100 participants, two thirds of whom are teenagers. The course counts as the first week in the Certificate IV in Youth and Community Work (Christian) that I have come to help with.
Today we had an orientation session for the students, as part of this we braced ourselves against the winds and walked around the village. First stop was the chalet, a restaurant hotel facility that we run here. A team of village members – young and old – were preparing for an 80th birthday party that was booked for the afternoon. When I arrived in the village yesterday, I sat by the wood fire, enjoying a bowl of chips and chicken nuggets as I looked out over the valley. It’s a stunning place to be. Next we visited the offices and then the community hall and Heart FM radio studios and from there we returned to the village CBD… which consists of a general store, post office, gift store (AKA Cheryl’s Shop), the Wombat Boutique (second hand clothes store), gas station and Pigibela Art Galery.
Being part of this community means that you get a turn at least once a week on to work at one of the enterprises, whether its housekeeping at the chalet or manning the garage. Every enterprise is open normal working hours and is maintained by village members. No one gets paid but all the profits go towards our staff and work across the world.
The village was my home for three and a half years until June 2007. It’s a special thing to be back again, much has changed significantly but I am looking forward to sharing the journey with you whatever it may be.
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