During the July school holidays in 2012, families from Kintore, Mt Liebig, Papunya and Haasts Bluff joined Waltja staff and volunteers on two long walks through country. These community walks aimed to support both physical and cultural health, giving people a chance to spend time out on their country, and to walk and be active every day. Community leaders are worried about the amount of diabetes and other chronic diseases, and believe that activities such as this help people to stay healthy.
The first walk started at Yitilangi swamp near Kintore, went past Nguman and Yuwalki outstations, and finished with about 20 women and children walking into Kintore 9 days and 75 kms later.
The second walk started just near Mt Liebig community. About 60 people walked all the way around the hills to Winparku outstation and on past Limestone Bore near Haasts Bluff. This walk also covered about 75 kms over 9 days.
Check out the photos on the right – you can see that everyone really enjoyed themselves. There were some blisters and aching muscles, but it was fantastic to see people getting stronger as the walk progressed. As people walked, they burnt country to encourage bush tucker, dug up plenty of goanna and even did interviews with PAW Media. Elders got lifts in the Waltja troopies and walked as much as they wanted.
The afternoons were spent setting up camp (shifted each day by the dedicated crew of Waltja workers and volunteers), relaxing and collecting more bush tucker. As well as goanna, people found maku (witchetty grub), honey ant, akatjirri (bush raisin) and we even had bush turkey one night. People cooked their own healthy meals from supplies handed out by Waltja – the flour drum stoves and woks were a big hit, as was roo tail night of course.
At night we’d go to sleep surrounded by campfires, listening to young people chatting into the night or to the ladies singing gospel songs. Irene Nangala and Neil Murray even put together a song about the Kintore walk.
Many thanks to the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Ageing for funding this project through their Get Active, Live Longer campaign. Waltja would also like to thank everyone involved – participants, volunteers and supporting organisations – for helping to make these community walks such a great success!