Island time inspires community
AMONG the palm trees and beaches of Poruma Island in the Torres Strait friendships and faith could be felt in the cool island breeze.
Each year the students from Mackay Christian College pack their bags during June-July holidays and take part in an indigenous outreach trip.
Mackay Christian College head of senior school and trip co-ordinator Peter Lister said students visited the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area of Cape York.
This year three different groups made up of 35 students and team leaders visited five different indigenous communities.
During their visit to these communities, students not only became part of the everyday fabric of the community, they gave back by donating clothes made by the college’s home economics classes and teaching on the importance of healthy living.
Mr Lister said the students helped spread the message about preventing chronic disease, through the Queensland Health program Kombat Chronic Disease (KCD).
“The program is about raising awareness about chronic disease; it is a huge issue in the Torres Strait,” Mr Lister said.
Other highlights included the students performing songs on the local community radio station.
“Another one for me was seeing the students grow and change and step up into leadership roles,” Mr Lister said.
“The team visiting Thursday Island also got to be part of the Coming of Light Festival, which celebrates when Christianity reached the Torres Strait.”
Year 11 student Daniel Fehring kept a blog of his reflections on the trip and how the students and teachers of MCC served the Torres Strait in whatever way they could.
“We met local children, played sports and games with them and ran children’s programs, which was a total success,” Daniel said.
“I felt a special connection to that place, that I had never felt before and I would like to thank the island communities for welcoming and embracing our college each year, especially the elders, traditional landowners, councils and local businesses.”
Mr Lister said all children came back enlightened with many of them kicking their addiction to Facebook .
“The students said they don’t go on Facebook every day now after having a rich relationship and interaction with the islanders where the value is on face-to-face interaction,” he said.