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Visiting Warmun

Adam Iriks and Rebecca Ffoulkes

In Week 4 of this term, we had the incredible opportunity to journey to Ngalangangpum School in the remote North Kimberley community of Warmun. Nestled two hours south of Kununurra, this tight-knit community boasts a population of approximately 700 people. Our purpose for the week was to actively support the school staff and engage in classroom teaching as part of a mutually enriching school partnership program. Two staff members from Ngalangangpum School visited Kolbe to gather ideas on expanding their hospitality program and to strengthen the partnership between our two schools.

The week unfolded with many unforgettable experiences, providing numerous chances to deeply immerse ourselves in the rich local Giija culture. The pinnacle of our journey involved guiding senior school students on an excursion to a spring steeped in spiritual and historical significance for the surrounding communities. Picture this: a four-wheel-drive adventure spanning 60 minutes eastward toward the Northern Territory border, consisting of lively games of ‘spot the dingo’ and ‘find the foal.’ The local wildlife mesmerised us, including a special moment when we paused our journey to allow a newborn foal to cross the track in search of its mother.

Before entering the sacred springs, as respectful visitors to this land, we were privileged to partake in a water blessing given by the traditional owner of the country. Our participation in this ritual was essential before stepping into the spring for the first time. The blessing protected us from the ‘water serpent’ and ensured we experienced nothing but good spirits as we swam. We had to stop and pinch ourselves while we swam in this picturesque location, miles from civilization, all the while being educated by the local children about the various customs and traditions we were experiencing.

As individuals fascinated by the richness of our First Nation’s culture, we feel extremely blessed to have undergone this transformative experience. The prospect of returning to this community in the future fills us with anticipation. Kolbe Catholic College is thrilled about the growing partnership with Ngalangangpum School, and we anticipate nurturing and expanding these relationships as we continue our journey into the future.

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