I found Bourke challenging on a number of levels. The legacy of dispossession, subjugation and dislocation of the Aboriginal community is incredibly visible.
As an outsider, it was really difficult to move past the glaring inequalities and the sadness that runs through the town. It would have taken much longer than a week to dive under the tough surface that flavours Bourke.
The last person who I was expecting to meet in this town of 2,000 people, 800km North West from Sydney was Albert Peter. Albert is a ni-Vanuatu Minister for the Adventist Church who has called Bourke home for the last two years. Through his outlook on the world and in particular his faith, he was able to find positives in Bourke that were hidden to my eyes.
“I think people are looking for connection and attention, sometimes I be there with them in times of pain and time of loss in funeral – I’m so happy to be there for them. I think that makes a big impact on how we can interact” – Albert on life in Bourke
I appreciated his hopefulness but also his preparedness to address critical challenges that exist in town.
Albert reflected on what it is like being a man of colour working in the aboriginal community and how faith drives his approach to community engagement. We also talked about Albert’s time in Mongolia and his approach to missionary life.
(Albert Peter – Bourke, July 2020)