Monday, July 16 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012
On Monday morning, Ann and John Gibbins picked me up at the Vosila’s home for a short trip to Canberra, the capital city of Australia. Cayla and I snoozed during the 3 hour drive. We made a pitstop for lunch along the way and visited a creepy exhibit at a historic courthouse. In the dark court room, a voice recording and spotlights reenacted a trial using disintegrated, life size mannequins. Although thoroughly spooked, we didn’t lose our appetites and enjoyed a quick meal at an outdoor cafe. The four of us hopped back in the car and made our way to Canberra. We visited Australian Catholic University and got a tour of the small campus. It is centered around two main buildings and has a student body of about 1,000. Following our visit, we checked into the Carotel Motel and made ourselves at home. Ann and John brought us to an Australian Football Club for dinner. It was huge, with a bar, dining area, and casino section. It was quiet Monday night, but Cayla and I appreciated the experience.
|Cayla and I with the Solomon Islands flag|
Tuesday was productive and we squeezed in every activity possible. We went to the new Parliament house at 8:30 and did a self guided tour. It was a foggy morning, so we couldn’t see the views very well. The four of us returned to the ACU campus and met with Christine King, who plays an active role with the Indigenous community. She is Indigenous and told her story of separation from her family as the government attempted to “whiten” her people. We discussed ongoing issues and also progress that has been made over the years. Her stories and information were fascinating. The troubles of the Indigenous people are very similar to that of Native Americans. All too soon, we had to leave for another meeting.
Nick Seselja, the campus minister, was waiting for us in his office. We chatted about the programs at ACU and about what the PC campus ministry center has to offer. After that we were on the move again, and visited the science center, the national library, and the National Museum of Australia. All were very informative. Back at the motel, Cayla and I went for a run before having burgers and beer for dinner in town.
|Bird's Eye View of Canberra|
Wednesday we visited the veteran’s memorial and got a beautiful glimpse of the city and monuments from an overlook. Cayla and I then got to observe presentations at ACU for drama and arts classes. We spoke to several students who are finishing their certification to become teachers. Then we were back on the road, and I got home to the Vosila’s at 3:30. I spent some time packing and doing laundry before enjoying a delicious meal Christine prepared. Just a few more things to take care of and I’ll be ready for my 4:15 a.m. pickup for the airport. Tomorrow, Cayla and I finally set out for our highly anticipated four week stay in the Solomon Islands!