First days in Shepparton

I have now been in Shepparton three days and so much has happened since I arrived last Sunday evening.

Shepparton Cows

Shepparton Cows

The first thing that stuck me about Shepparton was the diversity of international cuisine, as there are many restaurants in town with all manner of foods – including Indian, Thai, Turkish, Chinese, and most interestingly Albanian. I was very surprised to learn that Albanian migrants have been in the region for several generations, mainly fruit farming (along with Italian migrants).

Lutfiyes Shish Kebab

Lutfiyes Shish Kebab

On Sunday evening, I met the other secondees and the Jawun organisers and went out to dinner at a yummy Indian restaurant where we got to know each other a little bit. There are five secondees on this rotation, all women and interestingly most of us are over 45 years of age. I am the only secondee from government, with the other women coming from the private sector.

Our accommodation is very comfortable and I am sharing with a lovely woman who specialises in risk assessment in the banking sector. I have my own tele hanging on the wall but so far I have been going to sleep early as I think my brain has been in information overload.

Monday was a busy day where we spent the morning undertaking an induction into the Jawun program. In the afternoon we went to a number of local Aboriginal organisations and met with some key people in the community. We didn’t visit all of the organisations that Jawun work with in the region, rather, we went to the places where we will be placed over the next 6 weeks.

Tuesday and today we have been settling in with our host organisations. There are two of us working with Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, which is nice as I have someone to walk to work with and share insights. My co-worker comes from Brisbane so there is plenty to talk about on the way 🙂

Today we were very privileged to preview a documentary being produced for SBS about Yorta Yorta youth learning about country and culture. There was a very large focus on the significance of water to Yorta Yorta culture, and the stories shared by elders were really engaging. Some of the topics reminded me very much of my learnings from SCANZ2013, particularly in relation to caring for country and integrating Indigenous knowledge into finding solutions for the challenges that humanity face in regards to climate change and respecting our environment.

I miss home very much, especially my guys but time seems to be flying already and I hope to see them on the weekend – fingers crossed!