Monday, November 19, 2007

Bits and peaces

I always hesitate when people ask me what I do, and no less so than at the airport when that piece of beaurocratic paper asks me to state my profession. Titles like "Programme Assistant" don't give any idea of what the job entails. I recently had the idea of writing "Peace Worker" and it sits nicely with me. Identifying myself as a Peace Worker gives an impression of the sort of work I tend to be involved in without limiting it to a definition of paid employment or to focussing solely on the academic or solely on the practical.

So, what have I been doing recently? Last weekend I facilitated an Alternatives to Violence workshop which was, as always, both inspiring and exhausting. I have been reading up on Australia's peacebuilding work in the Pacific, and have been pleased to find that some of the research and advocacy I was doing in Geneva is also happening here. I have also been getting interested in and helping out with Quaker development work here in Australia. I have been following up on projects I was involved with in Kenya, and am very excited to hear that AVP might be part of a new peace project in Nepal all because I was able to link some people up with each other. I have also been putting together some fun African fabrics in order to make a patchwork skirt which will remind me of Kenya. So I suppose at the moment I'm literally doing bits and peaces, and the label of Peace Worker fits well.

I love a sunburnt country

As I drifted from sleep to consciousness on my first morning back in Australia I was greeted by the familiar yet half-forgotten sound of a kookaburra laughing. It was a beautiful reminder that I was in the land of mystical creatures, sun-burnt countryside and of dreaming. There is something so comforting about Australia's wildlife and the stark contrast between the beaches, the bush and the desert.

I have been lucky enough to be back home just as the purple jacaranda trees are lining the streets, I have spent time at my favourite place in the whole world, Werona in Kangaroo Valley, and have sat by the creek at the bottom of mum and dad's street and of course stared in wonder and delight at Bondi's crazy sculpture's by the sea. I took a friend to Manly by ferry, and found myself amongst all the tourists photographing the opera house and harbour bridge at twilight.

It is really nice to be home but I know I won't forget all the amazing people I met and experiences I had in Europe and Africa. They have already begun to inform and impact my work here already - I included a Kenyan activity "I pepeta" into a workshop I facilitated last weekend and it was a great success!