Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnership Program: Marcia Czerniak – Week one

6 November 2019

Over the next six weeks we will be following the journey of the Department of Education’s Marcia Czerniak who is taking part in the Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnership Program.

The program offers secondment opportunities to public sector leaders where they will be able to support the achievement of community initiatives and outcomes in remote regions.

Marcia has been placed to work with Nyamba Buru Yawuru in Broome on the development of a wellbeing centre and will share her stories and experiences with us each week.


Week one: the journey begins

"As I sat at Gate 16, waiting for the boarding to open for my flight from Perth to Broome, I had a million thoughts running through my head.

What would the other secondees be like? Would I be able to deliver on the project given to me with Nyamba Buru Yawuru? Would I be able to cope with Broome wet season temperatures? And how long would it take before I needed to Facetime my dogs because I missed them so much?

Now, seven days later and induction week completed, while some of my questions may still be unanswered (except for the temperatures - I don’t think there will be any getting used to 40-plus degrees with humidity), there is a sense of calm about the coming five weeks.

This week has been a week of learning. Learning about and meeting with the organisations that partner with Jawun and learning about the history of the Yawuru people and their land.

When it comes down to it, that’s why I applied for this secondment. To learn and share whatever skills I can. It’s two-way learning at its best.

So, as the first week comes to an end, what I have learnt is this; drink as much water as possible (because dehydration is not fun), ask as many questions as possible, and listen with intent and openness because that is when surface layer conversations turn deeper.

If someone were to ask me what the highlight of induction week was, without a doubt it would be the morning tea held at Nyamba Buru Yawuru with some of the Yawuru elders. More specifically, a conversation with a gentleman. He had a gentle face, shaped by a long silver grey beard and a voice that instantly made me feel welcome.

What started as a surface layer conversation, talking about the weather and where I worked, ended up with him telling me about his life and his family history with the Beagle Bay mission.

It was that conversation that signified the whole week for me. That someone who was a complete stranger half an hour ago could open up to me about his life in that way.

I can only hope that I can share as much of myself with all the people I meet over the next five weeks.”

Page last updated 6 November 2019