A place where your eyes are opened…

Gäwa; the definition of community.

A place where community, life challenges and love are witnessed in their most raw form.

On the 1st of August I commenced my teacher volunteer trip to Gäwa Christian School. Little did I know that I would return on the 20th of August with a changed perspective. Throughout the two weeks I was blessed with the opportunity to teach in Gäwa Christian School; in Getkit (Foundation to Year 3), Gukuwal (Year 4 to Year 7) and Murryil (Year 8 to Year 10). Once I got a taste of each class, I knew my heart was with Getkit so I spent most of my time with those beautiful children, co-teaching English and Mathematics. I came to realise that the students in Gäwa were not so different to the students at MECS. They enjoy the same things, learn the same sounds, and solve the same mathematics problems. 

Gäwa Christian School doesn’t just teach one way, but both ways in the hands of Jesus. I observed this in the classroom, in community, with colleagues and in the day-to-day life of Gäwa. It is an ongoing process of teaching and learning English and the Warramiri language and culture; both of which are no more important than the other.

After a few days of being immersed in culture, something truly special happened. I was adopted by Marlena (who is 11 years old). When Marlena made this gesture, she became my sister (Yapa) and it didn’t just stop there. I was then connected to the people of Gäwa as they became my family; sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunties and uncles. This adoption system is very similar to what God did and does through Jesus. It says in the Old Testament that God adopted the people of Israel as His own unique people. They enjoyed a special relationship as the chosen people of God. They were God’s people by adoption (Romans 9:4, 26). This is what makes up the community and relationships in Gäwa; a place where people reflect real love in action. 

Amongst the community and love for one another, the little things that we can sometimes take for granted were highlighted. You notice each sunset and sunrise (if you are up early enough), you appreciate the conversations and relationships, you cherish the moments and sounds of pure laughter, and you feel love in its truest form. In Gäwa there is time to enjoy these moments, life is paced differently and the joyful moments can come in the simplest of forms. One of these moments was watching the sunset and hearing children laughing. I had no idea what they were laughing at, if they were joking or playing, but I did know that it was real laughter. Yes, we see this in our everyday life, but Gäwa allows you the time to stop and enjoy. 

I feel so privileged to have been able to experience this and now back at MECS, my deep hope is that I will be able to demonstrate and recognise this with all students I come into contact with. We are all part of one big family, God’s family and that is simply beautiful. 

Please note: the photo is for promotional use only.