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Support and Accommodation Part 1

I would have died (literally) if I didn’t have these two forces of good, backing me up on my long journey to Canberra! Now that I’m just past the half way point, I want to take some time and acknowledge the dedication and caring nature of some of the people who have supported me and helped me get this far.

These are the people I haven’t mentioned yet, in previous blog posts.

Karen and her son Connor (Connor’s taking the photo). Karen has a wonderful way of keeping things simple and easy. She was exactly the type of person I needed at the beginning of this journey, when I was still figuring out a routine and my brain was everywhere. Karen also invented the Low Fructose Walkers Bar! It’s full of nuts and seeds and dark chocolate!

Speaking of nuts and seeds, Sr Brigid and her team at BASP are an amazing support crew in themselves! The first time I visited MITA (detention centre in Broadmeadows), with Sr Brigid brought a huge bag of peanuts, still in their shells. In the “visitors room” we put them into a bowl and every kid in the room flocked over to have some! They showed me an efficient way to break them open with my teeth to eat the nuts inside. One boy showed me a great way to dispose of a shell by putting it down his brother’s top! I’ll have to try that one on my sister…

Sadly there’s no photo of this as you can’t take cameras or phones into the centre. Imagine no family photos for four years!

Lee. If I were ever in a crisis I would want Lee there to help me out! She was able to anticipate my every need and this was even before I left Melbourne! Lee helped us send emails, draft letters and gave us ideas about who else to contact. In Euroa, Lee supplied accommodation for all of us, including Peita the Project Manager, Murray who can do anything (you just ask him and he’ll nod and do it brilliantly), and Peter who came up to film our time in Euroa (I can’t wait to see the footage! It’s going to be brilliant, thanks Peter!).

On the road Lee was always nearby. She took that wonderful photo that I have on my Facebook page and this one below of little me and BIG truck. Thanks Lee for keeping me safe, hydrated and sane! A special mention goes to Lee’s husband Rod for the ice foot bath. AARRRRGGGHHH!

At Lee's place doing some work. Note the food and drink, Lee always made sure I ate and drank when I could! Right - Lee taking a photo of me, like the one she took below!

There’s nothing like family and staying with my cousin Sally was a delight and a blessing in many ways. Sally helped me with campaign ideas and inspired me to use social media more. She also cooked me an amazing lunch of grated and fried potatoes with sausage, spinach and mushroom. Oh so good!

To all those mothers out there I’ve met and even those I have not yet met. I. Am. OK! You can rest assured that I am being looked after very well. My mission has been given the thumbs up the one who has the most cause to worry and not only is she a nurse, but she’s also my mum! Thanks mum for taking me out to dinner and providing me with a swimming pool! More importantly, thanks for coming and seeing me! I miss you mum! Xo

There have been so many women along the way who have looked out for me as if I was one of their own. I guess that’s what we do when we see the faces of little children stuck in a warzone, or growing up in a refugee camp. This week our hearts went out to those babies who might be sent back to Nauru. Thank you to all the mothers out there for looking out for us sons and daughters.

This photo (above), was taken with Delfina, Marie and Marg. Marg and Delfina are from Benalla and Marie is from Mansfield RAR. These three wonderful women kept me company on a rainy day from Baddaginnie to Benalla. I felt a bit down at the beginning of the day because I’d read a few sad stories of refugees the night before, but these three ladies revved me up and I was so glad to have their company! (A big thanks to the husbands for being on support in the cars!)

In Benalla, I stayed with Marg and her husband Brian who treated me like I was one of their own children. We had a lovely chat around the table, laughing and eating a yummy stir-fry with lots of fresh vegies! The next day Marg and I set off together for Glenrowan. It was a lovely morning and we were in good spirits as we had collected quite a few signatures in Benalla the day before, with the help of Delfina, Nat and Des from the Benalla RAR. Once Marg and Brian had seen me safe to Glenrowan and dropped all my bags off there too, we waved goodbye and I began the next part of the journey.

Thank you to everyone! You've kept me alive! Stay tuned for Part 2!

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