Steamboat Mountain School Global Immersion Studies Blog

Steamboat Mountain School Australia 2017

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 24, 2017 7:55:02 PM
We've been eagerly waiting to hear from our students in Australia! Here are the first blogs:
Vidal Zuniga '18
There are many ways to obtain food in Australia: going to the grocery store, growing it, hunting it, or even catching it.  My favorite method is catching it, especially when it's catching crab and walking through the mangroves with a machete and a bucket.  I saw my first crab; it was about the size of my hand.  I thought it was massive and good to eat, but Kelvin, our aboriginal guide through the mangroves, thought differently.  He said not to waste my time and keep looking.  I thought I had just let one of the best looking crabs get away and was sort of disappointed.  So as I kept looking and looking, I heard a squeal from 10 feet in front of me.  It was Jazzy, our 23 year old Australian tour guide.  She pointed at something in the shallow water, and as I looked to where her finger was pointing, I saw it: one of the biggest crabs I have ever seen.  The crab was the size of my head if not bigger.  It had massive claws that could have taken my finger off if I wasn't careful.  As I approached the crab, it snapped its claws at me,ready to fight.  I needed to figure out a way to catch it without it pinching a finger off, so my method was to poke it into my bucket with my machete.  I tried and tried, but he wouldn't budge.  After a solid three minute battle with this crab, I got it into my bucket.  As I looked into the bucket staring at my meal, my meal stared back and snapped his claws in anger, for he had been defeated.  I kept walking trough the mangroves, proud of what I had caught, looking for new to catch.  Finally, we made it back to our set up at the beach, with a warm fire made by the aboriginals and good stories being told all around.  I sat down next to the fire, not knowing what to do with my crab, so I asked an elder how they where gonna cook it.  The elder told me to just throw it on the hot coals, and as I watched it cook and turn red, i had this sense of pride in me. I had just caught, killed, and cooked my own meal, and it was one of the best meals I've had in a very long time. 
Elle Michaud-Thomas '18
I'm awoken by the sound of birds chirping outside, the musty heat of the tent, and the insatiable itch of mosquito bites. The air is damp and sticky and from the ocean's humidity and the night's down pour. In a heat induced delirium, I stroll out of the tent to pour myself a "cuppa" caffeinated tea and a bowl of slightly-too-soggy cereal due to the humidity. The caffeine as well as the collective rambunctiousness of  teenagers jolts me out of my delirious state. Quickly, we all pack our bags for the day equipped with sangas (sandwiches), sunscreen, rain coats, bathers (swimsuits), towels, and a lot of water. We then all pile into the four wheel drive vehicles and head off on another jam packed, adventure-filled day. We start the day off by driving down to a beach by the Roaring Meg falls in order to swim and spend the morning with CJ, one of the Buru elders. It was a beautiful morning. The weather wasn't excessively hot, and when it did heat up we were able to plunge into a cool, refreshing river. Towards the end of our time with CJ, we all sat on the beach and listened intently as he shared some of his stories and vast knowledge. He spoke in a way that made me feel as if he was in my head speaking directly to my inner-most self. His words held so much power. They drew me in and forced me to listen on a much deeper level. He spoke of the land and its importance. He spoke of his childhood and overcoming the unavoidable hardships of growing up in Australia as an Aboriginal. As the morning closed out, I left with a much greater sense of understanding as well as a heightened curiosity and a thirst to know more. In the afternoon we drove out to see Eddie, another Buru elder. When we showed up, I had no idea what to expect. Eddie seemed to be more of a quiet recluse, and I was unsure if I would get much out of him; however, as our time went on he slowly warmed up to us as we warmed up to him. He took us on an extensive tour of his property, showing us glimpses of deep rooted history and spiritual sites. He shared his knowledge and gave me a better understanding of how some aspects of Aboriginal culture came to be. We finished our time with Eddie by sitting at his house while he shared years of history as well as his vision of the future. As he spoke, there was something he said that really struck me. He told us 99 years from now,  if things keep progressing as they are, he believes there will be no more Aboriginal culture in the entirety of Australia. This struck a chord with me. I realized that by sharing this knowledge with us and putting it into our hands, it is now our responsibility to continue to share and pass on what we have learned. If Aboriginality is going to survive, we must all work together, no matter what walk of life we come from, to preserve and protect one of the oldest cultures on our planet. As the day came to a close, I fell asleep with a much larger pool of knowledge and a new found responsibility and urge to be an ally and help preserve such a beautiful and important culture.
steamboat_mountain_school GIS Australia 2017 Rock Art.jpg

Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, life beyond college, college prep, student voices, Rock Art, Aboriginal studies, Australia