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Cultural Tours 2017


Men's Business at Mäpuru

It's lunchtime on Tuesday, having arrived home last night after 11 days in NT. I'm sitting drinking a coffee and listening to the sounds of the neighborhood as I take a break from unpacking - it is taking longer than usual. The sounds are different from those of the Arnhem Land bush which was my home last week. Housing construction and motor vehicles have replaced the sound of leaves rustled by timeless, unhurried winds and waves lapping on beaches that had waited patently for months for some footprints to wash away...


As part of a group of 10 Balanda (white men) I have enjoyed a visit and sat with the Yolŋu men of Mäpuru where we spend time on country, their country. I was humbled by their generosity, enthralled by their wisdom, impressed with their skills and benefited from their kind patience as young and older men alike welcomed us into their lives for this brief time. I have made life-long friendships and heart-felt connections that will endure.


I had an absolutely fabulous time. It was so good to laugh and we laughed a lot. I still know so little about the Yolŋu culture and before this all I knew was what I had chosen to accept from the media and my own preconceived ideas, my prejudices. I like so much of what I saw and reckon mainstream Australia could learn how a community can better raise healthy, happy young men and women. There is a powerful, respectful connection with family that is obvious and quite enviable.


I want to go back again. It was a wonderful adventure in so many ways - physically, emotionally, spiritually. I was outside my comfort zone, at the edge of my experience, challenged and confronted at times and I have been rewarded. My awareness is developing, my perspective has shifted. A reality-based frame of reference is now established within me. I have grown as a man and feel more connected with myself, with the earth, with my family and with the wonderful people at Mäpuru.


I will be back, I am sure of it.

Wayne August 2017



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