Written by Deti Inayatun – Student, 2013 Indonesia Australia Pastoral Industry Student Program.
Edited by Libby Doney, Program Coordinator, Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association.
Dreams do come true! I am on the plane heading back to Darwin after meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Canberra yesterday, can you imagine? Okay, so this trip started when 16 students, including me, were selected for the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association Indonesia Australia Pastoral Industry Student Program. We had been training at the Charles Darwin University rural campus in Katherine. Our training was about cattle handling, staying safe in the work place, first aid, and riding horses, quad bikes, and motorbikes. After our training we will spend six weeks living and working on a cattle station in the Northern Territory.
One day during training, the program coordinators Mick and Libby told us that three students would be chosen to travel to Canberra or Sydney, to meet the Prime Minister! Honestly, one of my dreams was to travel Sydney, I so hoped and wished I would be one of those lucky students. And then it happened! Me and my friends Yogi and Yudhis were the lucky ones! Mick told that us to pack some warm clothes and to start preparing, because tomorrow we would have to meet the Prime Minister Julia Gillard in . . . Canberra. Wow!!! I can’t believe it, and even though it’s in Canberra, it is really okay because I will meet the Prime Minister! Can you imagine what kind of happiness that I felt? I felt so blessed, especially when I learned that we would have to transit in Sydney before Canberra. At least I would have a picture with the word Sydney as my background!
We arrived in Canberra at night, had dinner, and then sleep. It was so very different to Darwin and Katherine, because Canberra was soooooo cold! Especially at midnight, two blankets, a coat and socks still aren’t enough to keep me warm.
Morning time. The day has finally come. Luke, Libby, Andy, Alward, Yogi, Yudhis and I had breakfast in a bakery and coffee shop on the corner of a Canberra street. Orange leaves, blue sky, cold weather, wearing a coat, scarf and glasses. Breakfast is an onion, garlic and egg bread, and also a glass of cappuccino. I love this situation! I really do.
We arrived at Parliament House. It’s amazing. I don’t want to close my eyes because I don’t want lose this amazing moment. I felt like me and my two friends Yogi and Yudhis are also important people, like some of the people we met there. First, we were interviewed by ABC Radio Australia. I really felt like an actress! Then, we had a meeting with staff from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the Department of Regional Australia (DRA), and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. ACIAR and DRA have given a lot of support and funding for the student program, and I am so glad to meet such friendly people who hold such high positions like them. We share our experiences with each other over lunch and then take some pictures together. After that we had a meeting with Senator Nigel Scullion and he supports the program as well.
Unbelievably, Luke gives us special guest cards for watching Question Time. Again, we are totally surprised, because we’ve got seats in the front row! Question Time was good but honestly I didn’t know exactly what were they talking about and debating for. All I know is Julia Gillard is in front of me and facing everything calmly. She’s sooooo beautiful, and in a couple minutes I’ll meet and talk to her!
My amazing moment is getting closer. We all met the Minister for Agriculture, Joe Ludwig, and the Indonesian Ambassador. The best and happiest words come from Indonesian Ambassador, he said he was really proud of us because it’s not easy and it’s not a common thing that students from Indonesia can come to Parliament House and meet the Prime Minister.
Finally . . . we are in her private sitting room, she’s coming in with her beautiful smile. I felt so nervous, but also so happy and still not quite believing it’s all happening when she greets us and holds our hands. She’s really beautiful, with her white skin, a good smile, good taste of fashion; she is also really humble and friendly as well. I just can’t describe with words what I felt that day.
Even though it was only a short time, it was the best experience in my whole life. We talked about the student program, and about what we (the 16 students) have been doing in our two weeks of training. She looks very excited and is supportive of us as well. Then, we take a lot of photos together. I will print those pictures and put them in every corner of my house. The happiness was still running high for me when we met the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon. He’s really a friendly man, and he also has a good sense of humour. He gave each of us a coin, a beautiful coin.
I don’t want go home yet. I like this building, I love the foods, I love the weather and I love the friendly, important people we have met here. Even though I don’t know how, I definitely have to come back here someday. And maybe spend more than transit time in Sydney . . . someday!
I’m too shy to say these words directly, but I really want to say thanks to Libby, Luke and Mick who always take care of us so patiently. And Alward, who supports us so much and accompanies us everywhere. They really are like our parents and spoil us like kids. They always understand and always make sure that everything is perfect for us. Thank you so much for everything you all have done for us. I am so glad and grateful to on the student program.
I love you guys 🙂