The bus pulled up at Mungindi late in the evening, and the stars were already out in the clear sky. We were welcomed by both the Pastor and the delicious smell of barbeque wafting through a crowd that had lived the day through the rapidly depleting snackbox.
The hospitality of the country town was amazing, and soon we had steaming mugs of chicken or pumpkin soup, steak and sausage sandwiches and the first gulps of ice cold soft drink we’d had the entire trip. As the rest of the crew retreated into a continuing secretive huddle regarding the night activities, I went exploring, and the rest of the bus resumed a game of ultimate Frisbee the hall settled down into the same gentle rumble of card games, happy conversations and the occasional scream of ‘heads!’ when a frisbee went astray. This was later turned from a gentle game of hula hooping and Frisbee into a spectator sport of jumping through hoops in an increasingly difficult competition, with increasing heights, hula hoops and poses as one jumped through the hoop.
The hall was a great arena for the sport, and the rest of the night activities, and we were pleasantly surprised with the luxury of air conditioning and for a few lucky winners, mattresses. We spent the night huddled together in our sleeping bags not because we were cold but because we had bonded to each other, and we awoke from our gentle slumber with the good morning song and Carly Rae once again.
After the usual pack up routine we once again split up, as the task for this town was to raise the level of a play area to prevent it becoming a swamp every time it rained. A couple of big strong men stayed in the hall to move furniture (to rejoin us later), a group left to remove a stretch of grass to become turf, a group removed existing equipment from the area and another shovelled a massive pile of dirt into wheelbarrows.
It was back breaking work, and by the time morning tea came around we were grateful for the delicious egg sandwiches, and amazing assortment of slices. For the rest of the afternoon we put our back into it, occasionally finding the native rough frogs and green tree frogs that live in that area. On one occasion the group discovered a really cool looking worm that turned out to be potentially a baby brown snake.
By the end of the task we were proud of our work, the sun had come out and we were able to see what a big effort had been put in. It had not seemed a big job at the start, but once we realised that it had taken 30 people half a days work to do the job it was pretty impressive to see the amount of work we could undertake as a group and the impact in the smiles of the community as we drove off.
We stopped off at the main street to get lunch and had a great lunch in the park alongside the river that divided NSW and QLD. Bus Idol was what occupied our time in between Mungindi and Brisbane, and we spent the ride preparing our moves, interrupted only when both busses intersected again on the road. Suddenly one bus pushed forward, then another and a swerve to the left as we saw what would be the finish line for the race – the Golden Guitar. Two busses pulled to the left and a stream of blue shirt wearing people poured out of the doors, tore through a KFC and assembled in front of the golden guitar. Special mention goes to the two cross dressing contestants of bus Idol, Jeremy as Tina Turner, and Dennis as B!tchy Spears, who although didn’t win, won over the crowd with their very convincing performances.
Arriving in Brisbane we were gobsmacked at the quality of the apartments, two bedrooms with kitchen, two bathrooms, balcony and living area. Sarah did an amazing job setting in up and for a group who had spent the past collection of days sleeping on the floor without showers it was heaven.