Embracing Community Spirit: A Heartfelt Visit to Nauiyu

Embracing Community Spirit: A Heartfelt Visit to Nauiyu: 

In a touching display of community spirit and solidarity, the St Vincent de Paul Society NT, the Order of Malta, and representatives from the Darwin Diocese African community, led by Father Ched Mloka from St Mary’s Cathedral, embarked on a memorable journey to Nauiyu on Sunday, June 9, 2024. This picturesque community, nestled on the banks of the Daly River about 230 kilometres south of Darwin, is renowned for its lush vegetation, rich cultural heritage, and exceptional fishing spots.

The day began early, with participants gathering at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Cathedral in Darwin at 5 am. Despite a minor hiccup with a flat battery on the bus, the group set off and arrived in Nauiyu by mid-morning. The visit, meticulously planned over several months, brought together 15 dedicated members and volunteers from Vinnies, the Order of Malta, and the Diocesan African community, aiming to foster friendship and build a lasting relationship with the Nauiyu community.

Upon arrival, the visitors received a warm welcome from Fr Rius Baku Salu SVD outside the town’s church. The presence of Dr. Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM, a revered Ngan’giwumirri elder and 2021 Senior Australian of the Year, added a special honour to the occasion. After a Eucharist celebrated at St. Francis Xavier Church by Fr Rius and Fr Ched, animated by the Nauiyu choir, the visitors shared gifts of blankets, clothes, food items, hygiene bags, and rosary beads over morning tea with the community.

One of the day’s highlights was the opportunity to connect with members of this First Nations community and to listen to Dr. Miriam-Rose, a respected teacher and artist. Her insights and warmth enriched the visit, as she shared her wisdom about bridging First Nations and Western ways of living. Dr. Miriam-Rose eloquently expressed the importance of reciprocal understanding: “We have lived in this country for many thousands of years and 200 years ago we began to interact with white fellas. Since then, we have adapted to a new way of living. We learned to speak your English fluently. For years we have walked on a one-way street to learn the white man’s, white people’s way. I’ve learned to walk in two worlds and to live in towns and cities and even worked in them. Now is the time for you to come closer to understand us and to understand how we live and listen to what the needs are in our communities. When you come to visit or work in our communities and leave your comfort zones, I ask that you bring your knowledge and wisdom, but we ask you also to learn and understand how we live and function in our communities and listen to what our needs are.”

This profound visit strengthened the bonds of trust and friendship between the visitors and the Nauiyu community, leaving a lasting impact on all involved. The collaborative effort and shared experiences underscored the importance of understanding and mutual respect in fostering harmonious relationships.