how i became a refugee rights advocate

This morning on twitter I retweeted this tweet,

Lebanon has received more #asylum seekers from #Syria in last 24 hours than #Australia has in all of 2013. #auspol

by Kon Karapanagiotidis, founder and CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne. Very soon someone I don’t know responded with this,

@wildecrafted @Kon_K Who cares? You can bet they won’t be housed in air conditioned luxury & paid welfare in Lebanon #notourproblem #auspol

Who cares? I care!

I’ll admit that lately, for the same reasons I haven’t blogged in almost seven months, I haven’t been keeping up with the news about asylum seekers & refugees or the awful race-to-the-bottom politics of the two major political parties in Australia like I used to but my values have not changed.

When I was 21 years old I went on a convergence from Perth to the Baxter Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) just out of Port Augusta in South Australia. At the time I didn’t understand the history of mandatory detention in Australia, and if I’m honest I didn’t really understand why I was going on the convergence.

I first heard about the convergence when I was at a friend’s house, we were sitting on her bed eating highly nutritious mi goreng two minute noodles when I noticed a poster on her bedroom wall that was promoting the 2003 convergence to Baxter IDC.

“Shell, what’s Baxter?” I asked.

Between mouthfuls Shelley told me what Baxter was and we talked about people who had fled persecution and wound up in prisons here in Australia, detained indefinitely without charge or trial. I knew some of this stuff, I’d seen it on the news at my parent’s house but I didn’t yet know that there were people standing up and saying it was wrong.

It was a couple of weeks later when I was hanging out at a feral little bunker of awesomeness called Groovy Space (the home of a local junk percussion band) that my friend Scoutt told me that another convergence to Baxter was being planned and it was happening in a few weeks. She asked if I wanted to come.

There were around 80 of us on the bus from Perth to Baxter. It took us 28 hours to get there, the bus had two drivers who took turns to drive and to sleep in a bed at the back of the bus, we stopped infrequently.

For the three days that we were at Baxter I experienced more than I could have imagined when I signed up to go. I saw a friend, who was well known for his non-violent direct action (NVDA) workshops, get punched in the face by a particularly aggressive police officer. I saw people trampled by horses. I saw helium balloons popped by cops holding pins. I saw the cuts on the face of a fellow Perth activist after his face was rammed into the ground by the police officer who arrested him. I heard our friend tell us about how he’d been arrested because he was holding a camera that had recorded the police brutality and of how the film was wiped clean when he received his camera back. I saw asylum seekers climb onto the roof of the detention centre and heard them call out to us. I chanted “AZADI” (which means freedom in Farsi) with the hundreds of other activists who had come from every state and territory in Australia to protest Prime Minister John Howard’s cruel policies.

While all of this was certainly powerful it was the experience of keeping an overnight vigil at the front gates of the centre with a small handful of the hundreds of convergence attendees that really affected me. We spent the night huddling together under blankets, running on the spot and doing star jumps in an attempt to stave off the chill from of the cold Autumn night in the desert. We discussed anything and everything, always mindful of the people detained in the IDC we sat before. As the sun rose that morning I was struck by the beauty of the vast desert sky. As I stood to face to rising sun the stars still glowed in the dark night sky behind me. I felt free.

The children, the women and the men who were detained at Baxter IDC could not see the horizon. They could not see the simple beauty of the morning washing over the desert. They were not free.

It was in that moment that I knew, I really knew, why I was at the convergence. It was at that point that I understood my own privilege in a way I never had before and it was at that point that I silently vowed to myself, with tears in my eyes, that I would fight for the freedom of those seeking asylum in Australia. They deserve freedom as much as I do.

We won some things during that period of the refugee rights campaign, and in 2007 when John Howard was finally defeated by Kevin Rudd we all had high hopes. Unfortunately since then we have seen a return to policies every bit as inhumane as those of the Howard era.

Thursday June 20, 2013 is World Refugee Day. This Sunday (June 16) the Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) are hosting a rally calling for an end to the mandatory detention of  asylum seekers and for an end to the awful policy known as “The Pacific Solution”. I will be there, with my children, because the least I can do is spend a couple of hours of my weekend marching for an end to mandatory detention and the closure of offshore immigration detention facilities.

 

posted by wildecrafted in activism and have No Comments

Swapmeet sales fails

We’re trying to offload some of our “stuff” before we move. Less to pack, less to move, less to unpack. We’ve had a couple of unexpected expenses this month, plus the impending move will cost a fair bit, so we decided we’d sell some of the sale-able stuff instead of sending it all to the op-shop like we normally do. At first we thought we’d try a garage sale, but we don’t have a lot of “stuff” in the first place (well we don’t have a lot of stuff for white, middle class Awwstrayans), so we decided we’d try a swap meet instead.

Saturday night I sorted out our stuff, Bean packed it in the car, we set the alarm for 5am Sunday morning and trotted off to bed around 10.30pm. By 1am I’d fed Babyman 10 times, and hadn’t yet had a sleep! He finally settled down & I managed to get to sleep. Babyman fed again a couple of times before 4.30am when I woke up. Knowing the alarm was going to ring out soon & Babyman stirring for a feed meant I didn’t go back to sleep. Eyes falling out of my head I rolled out of bed at 5am and got ready to go to the swapmeet. We piled kids & dog into the car then set off around 5.30am. We got to the Melville swapmeet to be greeted by a sign that read, “market full, no bays available.” Damn it!

We decided to give the Kardinya swapmeet a go. It’s not far from the Melville one, although no where near as good. Anyway, off we went.

We got there late but snuck in and got a spot next to the entrance anyway. We laid our sheet on the ground & placed our “stuff” out. Once we were set up I decided to take Dave for a walk around the swapmeet since he normally has a walk first thing every morning and he was getting a bit over-excited by all the people around. Every single time I walk Dave, no matter what time of day, we get about 50-100m before he does a poo. I don’t know why I wasn’t prepared for it this time, but I wasn’t. I asked the people at the bay he pooed in front of for a plastic bag, dealt with the Dave poo & moved on. Up and down the rows, looking at all the “stuff”.

At a bay not far from ours I saw a bee wheely bug. Babyman was given a ladybug wheely bug for his first birthday and both sproggets love it so I asked how much the seller wanted for it.

“$10″ she said.

Bargain! I bought it & took it back to our stall. So far Bean had sold a book for $3.

Bean then took Dave for a walk around the bays. He found a cold chisel for $1.

I sold another book for $5.

Over the next couple of hours the children played on the wheely bug and in the dog crate we had for sale which attracted a lot of attention & funny comments. Some people were shocked we let our children put themselves in a dog crate, though most people saw the humour in it. A mother walking by with her toddler in a sling suggested we might like to keep the dog crate after all ;)

A highschool student bought a boardgame from me and asked me about the anti-nuclear sticker I have on Brigit’s rear window. She wanted some resources so she could hold an arguement with her pro-nuclear science teacher. Nice little bit of information sharing there.

A volunteer came around to collect our $10 fee for the bay and I spent $19something on food from the stupormarket next to the swapmeet. At 10am we decided we were over it. We’d sold $15.50 worth of “stuff” so the day had cost us a lot more than it made us!

A couple of people asked if Brigit (my kombi) was for sale, and one person asked if Dave was for sale. If the kombi and the dog didn’t have places in our hearts we’d have made our money back, haha.

We packed up and headed home, the swapmeet isn’t over until 11.30am, so again, we were defying convention by leaving early. Arrive late & leave early… we’re not very good swapmeet sellers. Unlike the con-artist who was selling junk opposite us. It was almost worth going to hear him scamming people like a true swapmeet regular!

When we got home The Bubble fell on the driveway. She landed on the left side of her face. She grazed her cheek, just next to and under her eye & her nose, and she bit her top lip. Poor love did a thorough job of hurting herself. Understandably she was very upset. We cuddled & put some essential oils on it, and eventually she fell asleep.

Later in the arvo, while I was listing our unsold stuff for sale on the internet, and Bean was sanding the new paint on his kombi Babyman got stung by a bee. He was playing on a ride-on car & stood on the bee. Bean brought him in to me, I scraped the bee sting out & breastfed him. More essential oils & a bath, and he was happy enough. Shortly after being stung he was running around, showing no signs of distress. I’m glad his reaction was so mild, my sister has anaphylactic reactions to bee stings now. Last night he was obviously troubled by it, he was wakeful in spite of being very tired & he was grabbing his foot, though eventually after much breastfeeding and consoling he finally became too exhausted to be kept up by it anymore.

The stuff I listed on the internet… well, most of it has been sold. The bulk of it sold within 3 hours. We should have done it that way in the first place and just slept in! Although, I wouldn’t have scored that excellent wheely bug if we’d done that.

I thought that wheely bug would prevent further tiffs over who got to ride the wheely bug when, instead it’s given them something new to argue about… who gets to ride the bee, and who gets the ride the ladybug…

posted by wildecrafted in journal and have No Comments

Weekend NVDA

This afternoon we returned from a weekend of non-violent direct action (NVDA) training with some anti-nuclear activists. Wow! Inspiring!

The workshops reaffirmed my committment to non-violence, in NVDA and also in everyday life.

The company was awesome. We reconnected with some dear old friends, hung out with some newer friends and made some brand new friends too.

We shared meals together, we spent some of our leisure time swimming in the ocean and the river together and we fleshed out some NVDA ideas together.

The children had a wonderful time. They both loved swimming in the river where it was calm and shallow. The Bubble had a wonderful time socialising with the smorgasboard of people to choose from. She was never short of a lap to sit on or a friend to play a game with.

The reality of the anti-nuclear campaign in WA set in for me also. We have a huge battle ahead of us. I really hope we’re able to connect with each other and remain connected while we campaign to ban uranium mining in Western Australia for ever!

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Compassion Caravan (after)

See the post preceeding this one here.

At the weekend we went to Leonora in outback WA from Perth with the Refugee Rights Action Network. 1682.8km there & back (according to our legend of a bus driver, Bruce, who drove the whole distance in 3 days).

Children in detention. Another broken promise.

We went to Leonora to deliver toys & books to asylum seekers being detained there, to see the facility for ourselves, to visit detainees and let them know we want them to be free to live in our community while their claims for asylum are being processed, to highlight the issue that neither major political party really want to talk about during this election campaign. The Greens have a better policy than Labor or Liberal on claims for asylum, it’s here if you want to read it.

Nathan holding up some of the donations we collected to take to the children in detention in Leonora.

It was a long trip. The government likes to put these detention centres in remote areas where the majority of Australians will not see them, so they can spin lies about the standard of living & people won’t see the truth & won’t question the lies.

In organising meetings and on the bus on the way to Leonora I had expressed interest in visiting detainees with the children. Serco (the private company who holds the contract to run all immigration detention centres (IDC) in Australia, a company who also hold contracts to run many prisons in Australia) would not allow Babyman in to visit with me, but they would allow The Bubble in. No reason was given for this decision & I can come to no logical conclusion as to why they would allow a 3 year old child into the facility to visit, but not a 7 month old baby. I am told by people who visit at Perth IDC that children are allowed to visit there, and I believe that to be the case because there is a space on the visitors application form to include the names of children who will be accompanying the adult visitor. When negotiating visits at Leonora, the manager for the facility would only allow 4 people in for 2 visits (2 people at a time) for the purposes of this, The Bubble was not considered a person. I wonder if this is how they see the children in detention? I wonder if it’s easier to lock them up and hear their screams of terror in the night as they remember the horrors of the homeland they fled if these children are not considered people?

As a group, we decided that I would take The Bubble in to the first visit with Victoria, a woman who has visited detainees at most detention centres in Australia. We were going to meet with an Afghani Hazara woman, the only detainee whose name we already had. Another member, Claire, and an ex-detainee, Nader, were chosen to go to a second visit with community leaders chosen by Serco & the detainees.

Victoria, The Bubble and I inside the gates.

After we walked through the gate I was told,

“The minor is not allowed to visit”

Victoria & I arced up at this, we had been told The Bubble was allowed to come with me. The guard told us she was allowed to go into the second visit but not the first. Again, no reason was given for this, the guard told us he was simply following the orders from “over there”, a line he used often. Claire & I did a direct swap, so Claire visited the woman with Victoria. After that visit ended & both Victoria and Claire did media interviews at the gate, The Bubble, Nader and I were allowed to visit.

A guard holding Victoria's balloons as she signed herself in & handed over her ID to be kept by Serco until she was signed out again.

We were not allowed to take anything in to the centre with us. We had to leave our wallets, phones, keys etc. with friends at the gate & take only our photo ID, which was to be left with the guards signing us in.When the guard was advising Nader of this, Nader said,

“I know, I have a lot of experience with this.”

The guard told Nader he also had a lot of experience & said,

“I know what I’m doing, I’ve been doing this for 11 years.”

To which Nader replied,

“I’ve been in detention, I know what you’re doing too.”

That sent a shiver down my spine. I felt so humbled by this man who was showing such courage. The choice Nader made to visit asylum seekers detained by the Australian government is a very courageous one. Courageous because Nader was once detained in Australian IDCs just like Leonora. For him to visit current detainees, to know the horrors they experience & to know that what he experienced is still happening, would be heartbreaking. Nader was in detention for 3 years and 3 months, he was detained at Curtin IDC, Baxter IDC & Port Headland IDC.

When we entered the visiting yard, a gaurd asked me if I wanted a toy for The Bubble to play with. I asked him if they had toys that all the children could play with (there were 5 children in the yard including The Bubble), he said “no” and asked me again if I wanted a toy for The Bubble. I declined, since there were not toys on offer for all the children. They entertained themselves anyway, without toys, and without spoken language for the full 1.5hrs we were visiting for.

While Nader spoke with 6 men & 3 children who he was able to speak to without using a translator (he is Iranian & can speak Farsi, Arabic & English), The Bubble and I spoke with a Sri Lankan Tamil man and his 7 year old daughter (using a translator).
He was chosen as a representative of his community to speak with me. He had a piece of paper with things they, as a community, wanted me to know.

First on that list was the request that pregnant women be allowed to live in our community while their claims are being processed. He said that being in detention was very taxing on them & made their pregnancies harder.
Second on that list was that their children be allowed to live in our community also.

They did not ask for any material things, they asked for freedom.

He asked me, with tears in his eyes, why Australians hate refugees. I told him that not all Australians hate refugees and that I could understand how he may be led to believe that when the media always chooses to show the vocal minority who like to spew vitriol at any opportunity. I told him that people can be scared of what they don’t know & that sometimes those people don’t want to know the facts because they’re comfortable believing the falsehoods they believe as long as they are not challenged by them.

He asked me to tell the people of Australia that they do not wish to be a burden on Australians, that they promise to work hard, that they want a new life. He asked me to explain that they wouldn’t come here seeking asylum if they were not desperate. He said that if people knew the truth they would surely have compassion. In Sri Lanka he had to move from place to place, often leaving the dead bodies of family and friends, unable to bury them before fleeing for safety. I promised him I would keep dispelling myths, I would keep fighting until Australia’s policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers arriving in Australia without a valid visa (whether by boat or by plane) is abolished and forever remembered for the shameful blemish on our nation’s history that it is.

Australia is breaching the UN Convention on Refugees by detaining people without charge or trial.

Article 31
refugees unlawfully in the country of refuge
1. The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present
themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence.
2. The Contracting States shall not apply to the movements of such refugees restrictions other than those which are necessary and such restrictions shall only be applied until their status in the country is regularized or they obtain admission into another country. The Contracting States shall allow such refugees a reasonable period and all the necessary facilities to obtain admission into another country.

At the gate to the detention centre, another member of RRAN asked a police officer how long he could hold one of us, as Australian citizens, before having to either charge us or release us. The answer was 20 hours. The Tamil man I met, his wife and 2 daughters (5yrs & 7yrs) have been in detention in Australia for 2.5 months. They have committed no crime, they are seeking asylum from persecution.

Detainees holding a placard inside the detention centre that reads: "Welcome to Leonora family rejection centre"

He told me that the children in detention are screaming out in their sleep, that they are not able to heal from the traumas they have already experienced because they are in detention & that they are experiencing new traumas associated with being in detention. He said that when children who have been detained are released they are developmentally delayed, he said their 6 year olds are like our 3 year olds…

Australia’s policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers is also breaching the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Particularly article 22 (refugees), article 27 (adequate standard of living), article 37 (detention & punishment), article 38 (protection of children affected by war & armed conflict), and article 39 (rehabilitation of child victims).

For example:

Article 39

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

The families in detention are not allowed to cook their own food. Parents are unable to do simple things we do every day in order to care for their children. They are being watched and judged in their every interaction with their children. They have to trust these same people who incarcerate them with the safety of their children when the children go to the local school, because as parents they are not allowed to walk or drive their children to school. IMAGINE. LIVING. LIKE. THIS.

The man I met said they eat and sleep, that they feel they’re wasting their lives. They want to get on with life, to start a new life in Australia. He said they were so glad when the Australian Navy rescued them from the people smuggler’s boats, because they had been so scared on the boats, but then when they were put into detention in Australia they were in shock because they didn’t expect to be detained.

No crime to seek asylum. Free the refugees

As a child & young teenager I visited a family member in prison on more occasions than I can count, at each prison that I visited the conditions were better than those I saw at the Leonora detention facility. There are innocent children & women (some who are pregnant) being detained by our government, there are innocent men being detained by our government, it’s simply not ok. It has to change.

PLEASE write letters to local media, state media, national media, international media, your local government, your state government, federal government, the UN, anyone you can think of. Please highlight this issue, please help to dispell myths about asylum seekers that friends, family and strangers may have. Read up on the facts (you can start to do that here: www.boat-people.org), question everything you’re told by the government and media about refugees & asylum seekers.

In the words of another RRAN member,

“We will win because we are right!”


Here are links to some news articles & GWN video about the convergence.

http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-n…816-126nh.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2…section=justin

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-…st-at-leonora/

http://kalgoorlie.igwn.com.au/index.php/news/prime-news/refugee-protest-video

More photos taken by members of RRAN who made the trip can be found here:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?aid=195653&id=526943643

posted by wildecrafted in activism and have Comments (8)

A letter to Serco

There is so much I want to share about our trip to Leonora, it was incredible. As I have the time I will draft a post (or 10!) and try to put the experience in to words. Until then, here is a letter I wrote to Serco, the private company who holds the contract to manage all the immigration detention centres in Australia:

To Whom This May Conern,

I am writing to express concern over the lack of availability of English language dictionaries for asylum seekers being detained in immigration detention facilities managed by your company.

At the weekend I met with a Sri Lankan man and his daughter who are being detained at Leonora, Western Australia in a facility managed by Serco. I asked the man if detainees were provided with dictionaries to help translate words from their own language into English so they may learn the English language and be able to communicate with English speakers without waiting for a translator to be available to them. He told me dictionaries are not given to detainees.
If claims of asylum are found to be genuine, how can asylum seekers be expected to live in an English speaking community and contribute to the community as they wish to do so if they have little or no English? Imagine starting a new life in a country whose dominant language you can not speak.

As the “service” provider I feel it is your duty to ensure that you provide the services you claim to do so on your website.

Quote from your website http://www.serco-ap.com.au/justice_and_immigration/immigration_services.html

“Using the skills and operational experience developed in the UK and Australia, Serco will seek to improve the operation of each IDC in line with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s new detention values, including the standard of living skills and English language education programmes and the availability of facilities such as, a World Faith Centre, gym, library and the internet.”

If you honestly do seek to improve the operation of each IDC, a basic improvement in English language education programmes would be to ensure that each person seeking asylum is given THEIR OWN COPY of a relevant English to native language dictionary.

Thank you for taking the time to read and consider this suggestion.
I will be forwarding a copy of this letter to DIAC and several media contacts as well.

Regards,

K Wilde

I’ll be printing it out & sending it to DIAC’s Global Feedback Centre also. Details here: http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/forms/services/
I’m also going to send it to my local papers & possibly The West Australian newspaper too, though it’s unlikely they’ll publish it since they’re so right wing!
If anyone else feels like contacting them with the same concern it would help me to fulfill my promise to the man I met that we would try to organise dictionaries for them.

I’ve also contacted GetUp suggesting that they give the meeting with refugees that Abbott won to Gillard in an attempt to put the issue into the spotlight right now, in the last days of their racist campaign. (I know he didn’t win it, but you know, I reckon he’s the one who’d be winning by meeting with them, rather than the other way around, he has a long way to go before his heart starts beating, old Tones)

Now onto writing letters to MPs about abolishing detention centres altogether…

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Compassion Caravan (before)

This weekend we’re going on a bus trip with 20 odd people (yes, we’re all very odd :P) from the Refugee Rights Action Network. An 850km bus trip to Leonora and back (1700km round trip) to visit families of asylum seekers being held in detention.

For info on the purpose of the caravan, see here.

We’ve been on a convergence with RRAN before, in 2005, a much longer one. We went to the Baxter Immigration Detention Centre in Port Augusta, South Australia. In 2005 we didn’t have children though. Actually, in 2005 we weren’t in a relationship either, Liam did sit next to me on the way there though…

So, given that we’re not childless, single people anymore, there is a lot more for us to consider this time around, it’s not as simple as packing our clothes/tent/snacks & hoping for the best. We’ve got a 3 year old child & a baby to entertain in the confines of a bus, a bus that we’re sharing with another 15-20 people.

Babyman doesn’t require much in the way of entertaining yet, he’s not really very mobile & basically as long as he has free access to boobs, cuddles & regular clean nappies he’s pretty happy. The Bubble on the other hand, she’s 3 & VERY high energy. I’ve thought a lot about what things we can do with her on the bus to keep her occupied for the 20 (or more?!) hours we’ll be bussing for.

I’ve bought her some new story books, which she was about due for anyway, because new is often more captivating when it comes to story books for 3 year olds. Her favourite of the new story books is her copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

I’ve made her a craft kit. I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet but it is AWESOME (toot toot toot)!

I’ve got a clear plastic box with 8 compartments and filled them with:

1. cotton wool balls

2. wooden dolly pegs

3. foam monster shaped stickers

4. colourful plastic pony beads with large, toddler friendly size holes

5. rainbow coloured popsticks

6. different size & shape fabric off-cuts from my quilting stash (yes, there is paisley in there)

7. different size & colour pom poms

8. craft ribbon & goggly eyes

I’ve also got a bag filled with things that didn’t fit in the box:

Sticker sheets with stickers of many different sizes, shapes & colours; multicoloured pipe cleaners; craft glue; scissors; a colouring book; coloured pencils & sharpener; large size, natural (non coloured) popsticks; a large ball of grey yarn for threading beads & other general crafty applications; a pad of scrap paper that Liam made at work to use as a drawing pad.

I’ve deliberately excluded things like glitter & paint because they’re a little too messy for the bus.

Tonight, once The Bubble was in bed Liam made some playdough to include in the activity bag, I suggested he mix lavender essential oil into it, hopefully it’ll act as a calming activity if/when The Bubble needs calming. We have already made 8 batches of playdough in the thermomix last night to give to the children in detention at Leonora. Liam made the playdough & I kneaded the colours & some essential oils into the batches by hand while he got started on each new batch, true production line styles. We made a playdough rainbow…

Red with rose oil, orange with tangerine oil, yellow with lemon oil, green with lime oil, blue with ylang ylang oil, indigo with patchouli oil, violent with lavender oil.

On top of all that stuff for activities we’ve packed about half the clothes they own, we’ll probably not need them, but if we don’t have extra clothes they’ll no doubt be needed. Better to have them in the bag & be able to put them back in the cupboard unused when we get home, than to leave them in the cupboard & curse when we run out of clean, dry kids clothes.

We’ve got awesome snacks for the trip so there’ll be no roadhouse stodge for us. I went to the little organic place just up the road from our house to get enough food for snacks & meals. I’m sure we’ll be rolling off the bus when we get to Kalgoorlie tomorrow night after eating hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, pistachios, dark chocolate covered cranberries, raw cacao nibs, goji berries, sultanas, roast veg salad, fresh fruit salad (kiwi fruit, red apple, banana, orange, pear), mushrooms, carrot sticks, celery sticks, spicy lentil dip, cold organic beef sausages, avocado, fresh honeycomb & popcorn!

I’ve also got a herbal first aid kit of sorts. I’m not feeling well & since I’d be taking herbs at home, I’ve decided to dispense myself some travel sized herbs. Tinctures of Echinacea, Olive Leaf & Golden Seal plus some essential oils, herbal lozenges for my sore throat & wholefood supplements (bee pollen, barley grass, spirulina etc.)

On that note, massive weekend begins in 8 hours, I need to rest now!

I’ll be taking notes & writing an update on the trip when we get home. Keep an eye on the RRAN website (www.rran.org) over the weekend for live updates.

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