The TROHPIQ Cherbourg Trip held on the 19-20th May went off with much enjoyment from the community and the students. Starting bright and early on Saturday with our awesome bus driver Allan, we headed straight to the Murgon footy grounds to run some health promotion activities with the local kids. The Cherbourg Community Health van came along to support. The kids were drawn by the face painting, plastering and free fruit and we showed off stethoscopes and the famous Gutsy Gus (anatomy model). Hearing their own heart sounds for the first time brought much glee to the kids’ faces. After a few hours in the hot sun, we broke for lunch and then headed into Cherbourg to visit the Ration Shed, a volunteer initiative established to share some of Cherbourg’s history and culture. Guided through the collections of photos and artwork, we heard many stories about the establishment of Cherbourg as a collective of tribes, and the progression forward, from past challenges of government oppression. The volunteers shared unique stories of their own health, highlighting some of the most significant challenges faced today. The day provided valuable experience for the students, gaining some insight into Indigenous health, culture and history.
We then headed out of town to Fick’s Crossing Camp, a beautiful bush spot by the creek, and accommodation for the night. The campfire was soon roaring, banishing any threatening cold air, while tummies were filled with BBQ dinner.
Sunday was a slow start, with some taking longer than others to rise from their well-deserved slumbers. Breakfast was bacon and eggs on the hot plate over the fireplace. Packing up and leaving Ficks Crossing, the next stop was Cherbourg Hospital. It was great to see the facilities and meet the staff. We learnt about the flexibility and compromise needed regarding provision of services, and to ensure the hospital was seen positively by the community so services are accessed to their fullest. A short time was spent rotating through skills workshops; suturing and plastering. Early afternoon now, it was time to hit the road and say farewell to the community. The students stopped at Kingaroy for lunch then Nanango for the famous peanut-man.
Many thanks to Kate Hawke and John O’Brian for their help, and to Sunmi Yang for her photos.