Christmas is a time of giving. We spend time with loved ones, show our love and give presents. Every year The Langports Foundation visits the Cherbourg Aboriginal community near Christmas to spread the Christmas spirit, to present gifts and prizes and spend time with the Elders in the community to learn about their history. We thank our staff and students for their fundraising efforts at the student Christmas parties which helps to fund our Foundation activities.
This year Susie and John France, together with 10 students from the Gold Coast campus set off for a two day trip to Cherbourg. The journey took them inland for six hours towards the area of South Burnett and Cherbourg. When they arrived at The Ration Shed in Cherbourg, our students were greeted by an Aboriginal guide ‘Uncle Eric’, who shared many of his own personal stories and of his role in the community. They spent a couple of hours being guided around all the exhibitions in the Museum and later that evening shared a meal and conversation with 'Auntie Grace', who discussed her family history.
The following day, our Langports students were able to spend the day in a class at Cherbourg State School. The Langports students shared stories of their own countries by the means of photos in a PowerPoint Presentation, bringing the world to Cherbourg. Roberto literally did! He used google maps on the class smart board. The students this year were from Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, New Caledonia, Spain and Switzerland. After their talks, the children were given their presents. What a lot of excitement as they ripped open their Christmas presents and found a special book! The smiles of joy on the children’s faces, brings us back year after year.
We would like to share with you two excerpts from students about this experience….
Hi, I’m Max, from Noumea, New Caledonia. I embarked on a journey with Langports to an Aboriginal community located in Queensland. Cherbourg was an experience that will stay engraved in my mind as well as in my heart for a long time. This two day trip enabled us, Langports students, to live a unique adventure in a place charged with history, culture and tradition. This place, which gave us an amazing insight into what an Aboriginal town looks like, is inhabited by wonderful people who know that the past can’t be changed, whereas the future is to be written. We had a chance to dive into the life of an Aboriginal community visiting the Museum, meeting some Elders, and spending a day with the children at the local school. I especially liked the time we spent with the children, who were interesting and interested. The way they are taught neither emphasises the Australian culture nor the Aboriginal one, but shows them how to get the best mix out of them both. We talked about our own family, country and culture, we played games, did some activities, had lunch together…In short, a pure moment of sharing.
Hi from Mieke and Ina, from Germany. First of all we would like to emphasise how grateful we are to have had such a unique experience. During these two days we got various impressions of this diverse culture in Cherbourg, the life of its indigenous people and the way they deal with history. It was a pleasure to visit Cherbourg State School. Even the youngest students in our Prep class (4 years old), welcomed us with open arms and were keen to play and talk with us. Their smiles while they opened our Christmas presents were just heart-warming. All in all, not only was the impression of meeting Aboriginal people unforgettable, but also seeing how the appearance of the village with its small colourful houses differ from the typical touristic areas.
From everyone at Langports , we wish all our past and current students, agents and service providers, who are all members of our very extended Langports Family, a very
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!