26th - 28th April 

Due to events out of our control, the Little Lifts trip was split between two towns over the weekend – Mandurama and Canowindra. Both towns at some point were visited by the Big Lift in previous years, it only makes sense to return for a Little Lifts trip! Given the mixture of new and old members, these towns rang a bell of nostalgia for some of our lifters and instilled new perspectives into other participants.

With lots of laughs, music and interesting food pouring out of the bus, we eventually made our way to Mandurama Public School, where Karen and Cass waited to greet us with the warmest of smiles. We piled our belongings into a demountable classroom, wondering how we managed to squeeze 40 people in for last years winter trip and were pleasantly surprised to see artwork made in July of 2018 still hanging proudly on the wall. That night we dined on some of the best spaghetti bolognese to exist, and our participants mingled amongst each other and listened intently as Karen explained the processes of running a small school, providing a much greater insight into their community then any of us could ever really imagine.

Saturday morning arrives, and our participants are greeted by cold weather and dogs – quite possibly the best way to start the day. Dividing up into groups of 2-4, we spread ourselves across the grounds of the school, working on their play equipment, sports shed, vegetable patches, gardens and the nature reserve. A mixture of painting, raking, organising, shovelling and weeding taking up the entirety of the morning. As we entered the afternoon, our team had to leave Mandurama, and off we were to Canowindra.

Start to finish, this part of the trip always had something happening, whether it was going for walks in the dark, playing games in the hall, to our volunteering activities on Sunday. Our participants were split up, some to work on mulching the school grounds, and others to work in the community garden. Throughout the day, we filled buckets worth of produce, filled 3 trailers with garden waste, created a massive mound of compost to be used, fertilised and watered the garden. The weather was amazing, and our participants managed to get through all the tasks they provided us, much to Maggy (the caretaker’s) delight.

Overall, our little lifts trip turned out to be a wonderful weekend trip, filled with happiness, kindness and so much energy! It’s amazing to be given the opportunity to provide to the community and our volunteers truly share that mentality. The trip has provided new learning experiences and hopefully helps to grow each individual's volunteering spirit to keep paying it forward.

- Tavisha Rodrigo