9th-17th January, St Joseph’s Spirituality Centre, Kincumber
For the first time, Palms also included five participants as part of its Preparing for Encounters Course. These guests, from the Sisters of St Joseph and Catholic Mission, attended a shortened course designed for cross-cultural travellers going for shorter periods.
Bruce Buddrige, a participant in the Course describes his experience:
I had been awake for 26 hours when I phoned Jenni to let her know I was at Terminal 3 in Sydney Airport. She was about ten metres behind me. It was with great relief to see a smiling, welcoming face in a city I’ve not spent much time in. We found the others, loaded up the car and were on our way to Kincumber.
Palms somehow managed to organise many speakers to come to us and provide us with much needed advice, stories and a general overview of what to expect and what they have experienced. Speakers ranged from previous volunteers to doctors to spiritual leaders to development experts and quite a few others. Their knowledge, time and thoughts were greatly appreciated.
The field trips were brilliant and opened our eyes even more to the worlds of others. Just walking around suburbs of Australia, I was amazed at the hospitality, openness and generosity of people. Everyone we met had an interesting story to share and contrary to our initial thoughts, was more than happy to sit and tell us about their world, both past and present.
The course opened my eyes to worlds I never knew existed, even though they’re right on my doorstep. I look at people differently to what I used to, seeing someone with a past worth knowing; someone who is no doubt intelligent, articulate and very knowledgeable in the world that I live next to.
I also see a lot of movies than involve different cultures very differently; something I had not thought about, but now I can understand the reasons and meanings behind the way the actors portray the characters they do.
I would highly recommend the course to anyone, not just those who are considering volunteering or moving to another culture; it opens your eyes and you see so much more in people.