At the end of February, Program Director Tina, Program Coordinators Cindy and Laura, and Marketing Coordinator Liz set off on a trip to the Tiwi Islands, expecting all to be smooth sailing. We were headed to Milikapiti Remote Community, to personally deliver our very first Book Supply packs of the year.
The day before flying out to Tiwi, our team was going through final checks and deliveries of books when the earth shook. A tremor from an earthquake had travelled through Darwin, and was felt all the way down in Katherine! Undeterred, our team packed their bags and prepared for the flight across to the Islands.
We woke to ‘the big rain’, a thunderstorm of monstrous proportions bearing down upon the mainland. With all flights grounded, our team waited all morning for the pilot to come and let us know the good news – we were approved for take off.
We dashed to the plane, keen not to miss our chance to get in the air. Soon we were leaving Darwin behind, and soaring across to the Tiwi Islands. After a quick stop at Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island to pick up Elder and Tiwi Cultural Advisor Nina Black, we headed to our final destination – Milikapiti. But the big rain returned, and buffeted our little 8-seater plane around, not making for the smoothest of landings.
But we had made it! We scrambled to unload our delivery of books, running through the rain with arms laden with boxes, determined to deliver some beautiful, new books to the children at Milikapiti School.
After meeting with the Principal Kate Leo, our plans to gift out books were finally a go. We sat and had a yarn with the kids about what our Foundation does, the books we had delivered, and what their favourite books were to read at home. After having a story read to them by Program Coordinator Cindy, which everyone enjoyed immensely, the students were allowed to pick out their books.
Even with small classes, it was a mad dash to pick books! The students ran to the desks where the books were set up, but once they were there they took their time, pouring over the books, comparing with their classmates and carefully choosing the ones they wanted to take home. Crowd favourites included ILF published book Moli det Bigibigi, Let’s Go to the Footy by Tiwi woman Debbie Coombes, and of course, Where’s Wally?!
Even the teachers got involved, looking through books and sitting down to read straightaway. “I think I’ll take this one for my class,” said one teacher, holding Can You Dance? by Sally Morgan “They’ve heard it before and they just can’t get enough!”
We rounded off the day by giving out some fantastic No Way, Yirrikipayi! tattoos, which were a huge hit. With an armful of books and new crocodile tattoos, the students went back to class with giant smiles, excitedly chatting about their morning with the ILF team.