Arriving in Barraba yesterday afternoon, we were all extremely excited to discover that the hall we were staying in had heating! Such a magnificent change from the past few nights of wearing multiple layers and spooning in the corner of the room to prevent ourselves from freezing. First on the agenda was sorting out our dinner, which was eventful to say the least. The cooking team made some leaps and bounds in the field of culinary excellence, creating a wonderful stir fry / pad Thai dish with a tantalizing smokey (burnt) flavour. The meal was well received and the whole team were extremely supportive of the disheartened chefs.
After several frisbee related injuries were sustained we moved onto the main event for the evening, The Olympic Games! We were surprised to find that the executive team had called up London and convinced them to hold the games in Barraba instead and also a few months early. We split up into countries and were given 5 mins planning to come up with a national anthem for the opening ceremony. The executive team (judges) presented themselves looking like loons and with thick accents from regions unknown. The events of the games were not your usual Olympic sports, but an unusual mix of games that most of us hadn't played since primary school. They included an egg and spoon race, tunnel ball, tug of war, snake and toothpick, neck'n'ball, power of 3 and the circle of hula hoops. The competition was fierce, with somewhat undemocratic tactics being undertaken by both the participating teams and the organisers alike, but eventually the games came to a close and the winner was announced. All of us!! The grand prize? Group hug!!
After the conclusion of the games we had our first "Yeah Buddy" circle to look back on the day and acknowledge some of the particularly awesome contributions made by groups or individuals throughout the day. Then we danced to a sweet serenade from Carly Rae, brushed our teeth and went to bed, toasty and warm with our heaters.
This morning we accidentally on purpose slept in and hurriedly rushed off to the Barraba Showgrounds for our first hot breakfast of the trip! Can I get a Yeah Buddy?!? When we all had had our fill, we headed out to our service activity for the day, which was split between painting work at the showgrounds, and more painting work back at the RSL hall we had been sleeping in the night before. Our supervisor Nick set us up with some lovely oil based paint, most of which made it onto the walls and doors we were directed to, however a small amount was applied to faces, hair and a few well placed hand prints on bums. With the painting work finished, we made a quick rendezvous back at the Showgrounds to thank our hosts and create a few happy snaps with the whole team assembled.
We now travel onwards toward Mungindi via Moree, picking wild cotton from the roadside, and admiring the largest pecan farm in the southern hemisphere. With the promise of a dip in the Moree hot springs to soothe aching muscles and generally improve the odor issues we seem to be suffering from, I can honestly say that this trip just gets better and better.
By Jeremy Loosli