This week we explored the dryest state (central Australia) of the dryest continent. We began our journey and spent alot of the day in the van. The second day we went to a quirky art exhibit. Inside there were figurines and sculptures. The artist himself taught us the history of letters which dated back to the early creation stories. He taught us the meanings of letters that make up words such as America, Australia, and Obama. Afterwards he showed us the meanings of our names and also informed us that the boomerang was created in Australia to hunt kangaroos. We then visited a coal powered plant which provided 30 % of South Australia with power. Our last stop we visited the biggest and saltiest lake in Australia.

Day 3:  Today we woke up early and drove to Cober Pedy, one of the biggest Opal mining places in the world, where 80% of the worlds’ Opals come from. We spent the time exporing mining sites and went to an Opal museum where we learned how Opal formed and about the mining process. That afternoon we went to a kangaroo orphanage and learned how they rehabilitated abandoned joeys ( baby kangaroos).  That night we did a lesson on privledge and learned more about the segregation that sometimes occurs based on sex, gender, age, race, and sexuality. Our hostel that night was a cave. We learned that 75 % of the people in Cober Pedy live in houses that are dug into stone.

facts about kangaroos:

-if the environmental conditions are too bad kangaroos can retain a fertilized egg for up to 5 years until they decide when they want to have their pregnancy

-a joey is the size of a jelly bean when it moves into the mom’s pouch

Day 4: Today we spent most of the day in the van. We arrived at Ayers Rock just in time for sunset and watched the sun set over Uluru ( the sacred site of the Aboriginials).

Day 5: Today we woke up at 5:30 am to see the sunrise and went on a 3 hr same hike through Uluru’s sacred site where traditionally boys would become men. That afternoon we went to the Aboriginial museum and learned more about their culture and traditions. After the mueseum Ori led a meditation on spirituality.

Day 6: Today we did a walk around Uluru and did a powerful activity where we learned about water scarcity/contamination/consumption.

facts about water:

-people who don’t have access to water live on 1/2 $ a day

– 1 % of freshwater is accessible to humans

-70% of water usage is in agriculture

– people in the slums have to pay 5/10 more times for a liter of water

Day 7: Today we did a 3 mile hike at Kings Canyon. We learned about sandstone. After that we had a 5 hour drive to Alice Springs where we finished our tour.

We are all really excited for Chenrezic Buddhist Retreat Center!