The inaugural ‘Under the Bonnet’ Study Tour took place from 19 January to 1 February. Fifteen people spent two weeks learning the nuts and bolts of how GK Philippine works with the idea of bringing that information back to our own countries to help us with implementing our own GK work. There were twelve Australian participants: Curtis Alejo (GKA), Jess Andresen, Lucy Andresen, Andrew Chalk (GKA), Anne Dennis, from the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC), Riverbank Frank Doolan (Community worker, Dubbo Men's Shed), Chris Graham (NSWALC), Elaine Laforteza (GKA), David Lee (NSWALC), Irene Mayo (GKA), Geoff Scott (NSWALC), and Suganthi Singarayar (GKA). There were three French participants: Christine Bisch, Remi Deveaux, and Benedicte Faivre Tavignot (who stayed for three days). The first two days were spent in Intramuros where we learnt about the colonial history of the Philippines, then we spent time visiting urban GK communities, such as Bagong Silang, staying with families in a rural GK community in Nueva Ecija and visiting an Aeta community. Participants also sweated it out during a build in GK Tellus 2 and while playing baseball or softball with kids at Smokey Mountain. During the second half of the Tour, participants were paired with full-time GK workers who graciously mentored and allowed the Tour participants to 'shadow' them. Towards the end of the Tour, participants spent three nights at GK Enchanted Farm where they reflected on the Tour and GKA's road ahead. On the last day, participants had an appointment with the Australian Embassy and the Administrator of Intramuros who helped to organise the Embassy visit.
In all, the Study Tour highlighted that it was not simply hard work, but also 'heart' work that should be an integral part of GKA.
To view some pictures from the Study Tour, please click here