Janetta Happe

Back In Motion - Hobart

"I was honoured to volunteer in NE Arnhem Land and meet some of the most beautiful aboriginal people who still live in this vibrant country."

When we arrived in Nhulunbuy and got off the plane, there was something about the place that made you slow down from our often hectic and stressful lifestyle. Things just run much slower here and so does the lifestyle of local people. It’s not only slowing down the pace of our life, it also gives us better ability to listen, observe and be more open to new places and its culture.

Visiting some of the most remote outstations, I found that people were generally very friendly and were looking forward to our arrival. Many would recognise out T-shirts and share with us their positive experiences from previous physio visits. Hands on treatment is valued and people might be able to relate to it due to their own bush medicine. Although many people would do exercise naturally, while fishing and hunting, adherence to do specific exercises is often very low. One of my clients, who was given specific exercises for his shoulder, when asked if he has been doing his exercises from the previous physio, answered with confidence “ Yes, I have been walking.”

One of the highlights of our Health Outreach was meeting one of the most elderly members who is 79 years old. When we walked into his house, he was sitting on his bed in a crossed leg position. Although he was wheelchair bound, he had enough upper body strength to perform transfer independently. There was calmness in his presence, his eyes were clear and mind bright. In his room were two other mattresses for his daughter and granddaughter. It made me think that we could learn from the aboriginal culture how to care for our elderly family members and instead of excluding them to separate rooms, giving them the opportunity to pass down their wisdom to our children and grandchildren.