Men's Living On Country Trips

This men's workshop is held over 10 days and involves the Yolngu elders sharing their skills, expertise, and knowledge of their traditional lifestyle.

In particular visitors attending this workshop will be guided in making a traditional fish spear, hunting spear and spear thrower.

The focal point of the men’s trip is a journey out “on country”. During this time there are opportunities to hunt and fish, experience an ancient and majestic landscape, and deepen your cultural understanding while sharing a camp fire with the Yolngu men.

This trip offers a unique opportunity of adventure, learning, and sharing. Each visitor to Mäpuru is welcomed with an open heart and mind and given a rare glimpse into the ancient culture that has sustained these proud people for thousands of years.

THE JOURNEY...

Our group will fly into Darwin and meet at a local YHA hostel. We will load everyone’s gear and all of our food for the 2 week journey onto our hired 4WD vehicle. We will then meet up with a group of white women who we will drive with to the community. This women's group are also going to Mäpuru to learn about traditional basket weaving and bush food. They will stay in the main camp in a separate women’s shelter.

By about 11am we will have our 4WD packed and begin our 2 day drive into some of the remotest parts of North-East Arnhem Land. The scenery is amazing and we will camp overnight at one of the beautiful sites along the way.

Late on the following day we will arrive in Mäpuru and be warmly greeted by the men and women of the community. That night we set up our camp (cooking, tents, camp fire) and have a good night’s rest. Our workshop starts the following day.

The structure of the workshop is based loosely around spending the first couple of days getting to know the Yolngu men, making spears, and getting ready to go out bush. We then sit down and together decide where we want to journey to. This organic process revolves around group consensus consistent with Yolngu culture. For example, whether we go to the coast, the mangroves, or the flood plains will depend on factors like wind direction, food availability, access to a boat, as much as the desire of the group as a whole.

Usually we are “out on country” for about 6-8 days. This may be broken by a trip back to the main camp at the community for more supplies and refuelling. The final couple of days of the workshop are usually spent back in the community and can be used for resting, spending time with your Yolngu friends and family, helping out with projects around the community, or checking out the women’s weaving shelter.

This structure is loose and every year is different with a lot of the adventures being opportunistic and spontaneous. Ultimately all things are discussed and decided on as a group – balanda (white) and Yolngu.        

When it is time to leave our group all gather with the men and give our money directly to each Mäpuru man who has expertly guided us during our time at the workshop. All of the money we gather to pay for the workshop goes directly to the people of Mäpuru. It is the men of Mäpuru who run the “living on country” workshops.

Once we have packed our camp and said our goodbyes our group then travels back in our 4WD to Darwin. We arrive back in Darwin late in the afternoon after another 2 day 4WD journey. Usually at this stage we are all exhausted and exhilarated!

EXPENSES & ACCOMMODATION

The total cost for the 2 week journey is $2,950. This includes:

- $1,500 per person for expert tutition, paid directly to the Mäpuru elders, ($150 per day for the 10 day workshop).
- $1,450 per personfor food, group's organisational & administration expenses, food, miscellaneous items, car hire, car insurance and fuel.

EXCLUDES: Flights & Personal Insurance

These amounts can be subject to changes due to seasonal variations. There is camping accommodation only. There are showers and enclosed pit toilets at Mäpuru as well as a traditional shelter for our group to use. There is also a magical creek where we can swim. There is limited refrigeration for food and during the workshop.  Everyone in the group contributes to cooking and cleaning.

CONFIRMING YOUR PLACE ON THE TRIP

If you are interested in joining us at Mäpuru please contact me as early as possible as the trips are very popular, with many participants returning year after year.

This field trip offers participants a rare opportunity to live on the traditional land of the Mäpuru people. To ensure our groups can get the most out of their experience and our deep respect for the Mäpuru culture is upheld we recommend participation or exposure to an Indigenous cultural program before heading into Arnhem Land.

Once your place has been confirmed you can finalise your trip by making a $500 payment towards your trip expenses. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, would like to confirm your participation or need further information before coming along.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Sam Robertson

Email: sam@naturephilosophy.com.au

Mobile: 0438 275 955

Nature Philosophy