Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi’s Healthy Community Healthy Life project is encouraging physical activity, good nutrition, and the importance of health checks though a series of walks around communities.
Based in the Western Desert communities around Alice Springs (Kintore, Papunya, Mt Liebig, Haasts Bluff and Ikuntji), the initial walks are short and take participants out to the bush for hunting and gathering food. The walks are used to transfer traditional knowledge about good health practices between community Elders and younger generations in Western Desert communities.
The series of short walks recently culminated in two long walks, over nine days, where participants walked traditional tjukurrpa (Dreaming) routes, camped and cooked healthy tucker.
Waltja’s project manager, Kate Crossing, tells us about the success of the two long walks held in June and July.
“During the recent school holidays, families from Kintore, Mt Liebig, Papunya and Haasts Bluff joined staff and volunteers from Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi on two long walks through country. These community walks aimed to support both physical and cultural health, giving people a chance to spend time out on their country, and to walk and be active every day. Community leaders are worried about the amount of diabetes and other chronic diseases, and believe that activities such as this help people to stay healthy.
Each walk took around nine days, with people walking up to 10 kms each day. About 20 women and children joined the first walk near Kintore, and we had a great crowd of around 60 people for the second walk between Mt Liebig and Haasts Bluff.
As you can see from the photos, everyone really enjoyed themselves. There were some blisters and aching muscles, but it was fantastic to see people getting stronger as the walk progressed. As people walked, they burnt country to encourage bush tucker, dug up plenty of goanna and even did interviews with a local media organisation. Elders got lifts in the troopies and walked as much as they wanted.
The afternoons were spent setting up camp, relaxing and collecting more bush tucker. As well as goanna, people found maku (witchetty grub), honey ant, akatjirri (bush raisin) and we even had bush turkey one night. People cooked their own healthy meals from supplies handed out by Waltja – the flour drum stoves and woks were a big hit, as was roo tail night of course.
At night we’d go to sleep surrounded by campfires, listening to young people chatting into the night or the ladies singing gospel songs.
Waltja would like to thank everyone involved – participants, volunteers and supporting organisations – for helping to make these community walks such a great success!”
For more information about Waltja, visit their website.