Two gates, a well used car and a long heart felt conversation before we arrived at the Kyogle CWA meeting. I had been asked to give a talk about our families experiences of Nepal, specifically an orphanage in Kathmandu – Papas Children Home.
Was I nervous? Just a little. But more excited for the opportunity to provide current information about the plight of thousands of children since the earthquakes in Nepal.
The CWA of Kyogle and more specifically Tamar who was now my chauffeur, met each week to discuss a multitude of local, national and international issues that the CWA was or wanted to be involved in.
For those that have never been to a Country Womens Association meeting let me tell you it ain’t all tea and scones. The wine flowed and hearts spilled as motions moved and knitting needles clicked together. I heard about one women’s antics in the back seat of her now husbands car (with maybe more than enough detail) social events, why Casino was dry and Kyogle was not, the upcoming photography shoot that some were refusing to collaborate on due to camera shyness and a multitude of art, music or fundraising events that needed a good CWA presence and support.
The CWA is the largest women’s organisation in Australia. It has 44,000 members across 1855 branches, with Kyogle boasting an 80 something strong force. Its aims are to improve the conditions for country women and children and to try to make life better for women and their families, especially those women living in rural and remote Australia. The organisation is self-funded, nonpartisan and non-sectarian although I did stand and make a pledge of alliance to queen, country and man before starting the meeting. A sideways painting of a young Elizabeth even hung on the hall wall beside me looking all regal, allowing her the opportunity to glare at me all night. I felt like I was back in my early court days questioning my own integrity.
Introductions done – I was first on the list. I began to talk and immediately felt a heat rise in my face and rush towards my ears.
Was I nervous? Yes, I was. Although the lady with the needles sitting opposite me offered the warmest of smiles I felt her life’s experience. I was aware of the presidents poise and commitment to cause – she exuded the strength of character the same as that of her wonder woman shirt. I really wanted that shirt but my boobs wouldn’t do it justice. I really wanted those boobs. With Queen Lizzie’s frown I stopped thinking of boobs and concentrated on delivering my speech.
Most of the women at the meeting carried their hearts on their sleeves and came with purpose and intention. I felt their intensity. I felt small in their collective experience and comradery.
I continued with my red-faced talk. I had worked hard on it. At times I could see tears in the eyes of my listeners. Perhaps it was the wine? I know I was heard but as the night progressed and the hand knitted panels became larger I reminded again how the world was filled with its problems and true to its foundations – there were so many local issues the CWA could be addressing.
Why were they interested in Nepal? Why would anyone be interested in Nepal? This question I need to ponder if I am to achieve a dream to build a new orphanage in Nepal for the family I met.
Glasses cleaned, agendas set, the meeting was over. I returned to the car with Tamar and understood that for all it was worth, I had made a friend. A connection that allowed us to camp on a beautiful community – on land that sang to us like an old forest we once knew.
I was revitalised and inspired. We all have our own agendas our own dreams and while the orphanage in Kathmandu (Papas Children Home) might not receive what I had hoped for – I can be proud I tried. I can feel grateful for a friend that I feel shares a similar outlook in life.
The effort we take each day to acknowledge and show love returns to us in magical ways.
Thank you Tamar and thank you Kyogle CWA.