The anticipation I felt for this trip grew from my recent realization of the intense beauty Australia has over many places in other parts of the world I have visited. Many parts of Australia are somewhat foreign to me and I can’t think of a better part of Australia than East Arnhem Land to immerse myself in the original culture and heritage of this land. Through research I was aware of the importance of the homelands, ancestry and culture to the Yolgnu people. When our team arrived at Laynhapuy Health (SOS Health’s partner organisation) I felt that I had been invited into a trusted team of health professionals who were all committed to the vision of building and supporting the Homelands.
In the six Homelands I visited, I was able to observe day-to-day life: health workers giving hand over of health information from their community to the health team and encouraging community people to attend the clinic; children playing, mums looking after their babies and bringing their babies to be seen by the health team; families sitting around campfires and cooking; and men using didgeridoos.
I was introduced to and worked with the Yolngu health workers and spent time talking to people, asking about their health and wellbeing, what important activities made up their day and about their family and friends.
I felt privileged to be welcomed into the Homeland communities by health workers and their families to provide podiatry assessment and treatment at a literal grass roots level. The week was full of individual experiences well outside of my usual convenient and abundant clinical environment. These learning’s have weaved into a collective experience that is a memory for life. I’m so thankful that an opportunity like this crossed my path and I look forward to returning.
Podiatrist – Peninsula Health