Saturday, July 03, 2010

My Christmas Island Debreif

This is my Xmass island debrief, i'm not sure if this is what you had in mind,

Having first landed on Christmas Island I had no idea what to expect. The humid weather and the militarized atmosphere didn’t fill me with enthusiasm. Though I did feel more at ease as I met the volunteers one by one until the evening when we all dined at the Boson.

Lockie had advised that these 4 weeks would go by very fast, still I did not expect it to go so quickly- it was almost like the whole experience was uploaded into my brain matrix style. I remember landing, and then I was playing touch footy outside the airport waiting for plane to take us back to the mainland. How did it pass by so quickly? A question I struggled to answer myself or the volunteers when I told them I was leaving. You’re leaving? But you said you were staying for four weeks! IT’S BEEN FOUR WEEKS ALREADY!

During the past few days I’d been trying to describe my experience at Christmas Island but so far I’ve just not been able to put it into words. All I can say is that it was one of the most incredible & journey I’ve had the chance to experience.

The opportunity to engage and work on a daily basis with the clients was most rewarding, getting to know them closely and chatting with them and sharing stories and laughs and sometimes tears will have helped them to endure the ordeals they’re going through and make new friends in the process.

I shared more treasured memories on the Island with the volunteers, the long hours and the challenges we faced from sickness to the ever changing weather to the even more volatile work conditions would have been quite difficult to deal with had it not been for the support and cooperation of the volunteers. Everyone I worked with gave the same 100% and the can-do attitude that made every session and class so successful every time.

I also enjoyed challenging myself on so many levels, the constant physical and emotional strain has made me realise how far I can push myself and keep going strong.

I would like to thank the management and the HR team for their tireless work and support to us. Knowing we had you for support to deal with CI’s changing environment made us give that much more of ourselves when out there in the camps.

When I finally left Christmas Island I did so with a heavy heart. Sadness at seeing my friends for the last time, sadness at leaving this amazing team of volunteers behind, sadness as we jumped off the pier one last time, had our last bbq on the beach, taken our last lazy scooter ride around the island, too many experiences and encounters to list.

Again, thank you for this experience and I can’t wait to come back again for another four weeks.

Nasser Alkhateeb

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