This weekend we’re going on a bus trip with 20 odd people (yes, we’re all very odd ) 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.