Dear Great Walk Community,

I am your coordinator this year with Vera supporting me. I have been groomed for a while, I did not think it was such a big deal, but now that I am it, I do find it a huge responsibility!

I have been in the great walk since Phoebe was 6 month old. Mark actually went to the first walk after the “Great Walk “ from Denmark while I was in Holland.

Not counting me sort of joining the last leg in Kings Park of the “ Great Walk “ from Denmark , My God I was fresh from Holland and had no idea such hippies still existed.

Anyway when I went back to Holland for a few months, Mark went on the next Great Walk and talked me into joining after that. Although I was not happy about the new footwear he was now wearing ( birckenstocks! So hippie-ish) I thought I give it a go.

The first walk we could really join was in Nannup and although I had been a squatter in Amsterdam, I found it hard to get used to these new levels of dirt and basics. But through the week I relaxed into it and loved the people, the singing, the bush, the talking stick circles, the teepee, and of course the drumming! In that week I got introduced to so many things and people that totally shaped my life since.

There was someone from Holyoake who introduced me to the adult child of alcoholics idea, which was a huge eye opener for me and I joined the 12 step program in Perth, then trained as a lecturer, counselor and group facilitator with them and elsewhere. I was fascinated by the incredible feeling you get when in a teepee, and years later ( at the Nannup block ) made my own teepee in which I gave workshops for years. I loved the singing and started to heal the hurt girl in me who sang so awful that I was not allowed to sing in the school concert. I now sing in front of my groups and write my own songs. And then ofcourse the African drumming.. .which I now teach! ( )

Also I met Tana there who told me about the first meetings of the Pinakarri Community in which we both still live.

And through camping and walking the land, I started to finally see the beauty of W.A, which up to then seemed like a barren and boring place to me. At the Nannup camp I also got some diplomatic suggestions about my parenting which I took to heart. So just this one “Walk” had incredible impact on me and al the following walks ( we did not miss one for the first 10 years ) strengthened and amplified this. So many things I learned from so many different people. Especially about love, acceptance and compassion and conflict resolution. Sometimes some incredible difficult situations, clashing personalities and challenging kids issues where resolved. Someone would take leadership, suggest a wholesome solution, offer their patience and listening, music, massage, a game. All sorts of creative ideas I have seen transform some sticky situations. For me the most inspiring people were and still are, Lumari and Debbie Hay and Basil among others.

The Great Walk Network is a wonderful supportive place to try out your leadership or other skills. Both Mark and I have organized a Walk after which I think you can run any “ company” in the corporate world.

The Great Walk Committee meetings are an interesting example of how “relaxed” an organization can be successfully run.

And of course still there are a lot of different opinions and ideas even in the Great Walk how it should be run.

But here I like to celebrate and congratulate ourselves and the amazing people that support all this; several Walks a year in amazing wild places, loving welcoming and all inclusive to everybody, a website, a newsletter, a building on bush land in Nannup, a truck , a bus , several trailers and a network of walkers, and every year still more ideas of where to go next!

With love Jozina