A NEW ADVENTURE BEGINS.
I’ve arrived on Badu Island in the Torres Strait and it will be my home for the next 10 months. I’m grateful for the tropical warmth, welcoming people and a great class of 19 spirited and wonderful kids. I work-shadowed the teacher I’m replacing for my first week and taught this class for the second week. Now I’m on holidays for 2 weeks and using the time to do mandatory training and my planning for the next 9 week term.
A coffee addict’s paradise.
Tuesday to Friday a mobile coffee shop rolls up to the school at 7:30am. They serve great coffee for $5 a cup. They also have toasted sandwiches, donuts and other treats. I only buy a coffee, not the treats and love it. I’m there 4 days a week, one of about 50 patrons. Perfection!
Plenty of options for walking
Most afternoons, I head off on one of the walks for an hour of exercise. It has the dual purpose of getting me fit and also clearing the thoughts of the day’s teaching. There is much of the island waiting for me to explore. No doubt it will appear in future blogs. I look forward to the wet season and the greening up of everything.
A place to call home.
I’ve taken over Georgia’s class. She gone south with her family to have her second child. She let me take over the lease on her 2 bedroom duplex. It is fully set up and again I feel really blessed. A long term friend, Steve Foster, has lent me his car for the time I’m here.
So many friends.
I lived in the Torres Strait from 1983 to 1991 and then did consultancy work here from 2001 to 2004. Arriving back here, old friendships continue as if I’d never left. Six staff at the school were here when I did the mural project here 17 years ago, and all of them have greeted me as an old friend. Students who participated in this project are now adults with their own children and they too have reconnected with me.
A man rolled up to my classroom to bring lunch for his wife, one of my teaching assistants. I heard him whisper, “That’s Mr Castley.” Curiorosity got the better of me and I went to the door and asked him who he was. “I’m Soli Dau,” He was in grade four at Boigu Island when I was the principal there back in 1983 and 1984. “You’ve got older,” I said. “So have you?” he replied and we both laughed.
Yesterday I went to the shop, (Prices are double what I was paying on the Gold Coast.) and coming out of the store, I heard a man say my name. “Joseph,” he said to my curious look. “I’m the head of the art centre here,” he said. “Come and visit.” I’d tutored Joseph in 1990 when he was a high school student on Thursday Island.
Old friends continue to pop up and they make me feel very welcome.
And I’m writing.
After months of very little writing, I made a start on revising my memoir, Painting My Future. I grab an hour a day and revisit the draft and improve it. I want to publish it before I leave here and head home to Bali. I need goals. They help the time fly.
I will take up Joseph’s invite and visit the Badu Art Centre. I’ll share information and photos in my next blog. Until then, stay safe and well.