Every 3 months (or quarter as it is known here in Perth) we send some students out into the nations on outreach, some students return back to Perth from outreach before heading back home, and new students arrive in Perth to start a school. Its quite the big turn around! But there is one week on base, when all students have left and no new students have arrived, leaving just the staff on base. This is known as the interim week….and it feels very quiet!
During this week all staff have to pick up extra duties to cover the work that students would usually do. So for instance I had to help with the evening dinner dishes clear up twice in the past week, which believe me, is incredibly hard work, and I am forever grateful that I dont have to do it more often! Doing the dishes for 200 odd people, plus cleaning the kitchen and 2 dining rooms is exhausting!! Happily, the new students have arrived now, so I have at least 3 months off from that particular duty 🙂
But the other thing that we do during the interim is give the whole base a good clean. We obviously clean the base more than just once every 3 months (every weekday morning every week of the year from 8-8.30am we all meet together to clean the base) but during the interim week we take a whole day to do a deep clean of absolutely everything. All the staff, 8am to 5.30pm with tea breaks in the middle, cleaning absolutely everything in sight. Again, absolutely exhausting. Although I have to say, I did pretty well with my allocations this time around. While some people were cleaning toilets in the morning, I was doing the gardening. And in the afternoon when some people were scrubbing the kitchen floors, I was helping to clean all the base vehicles. It was actually petty fun!
There was one bus in particular, one of the oldest in our fleet, but still very reliable, that I spent a lot of time looking after and giving some love to. I swept the insides of the bus, scrubbed the outside, and then gave it a good hose down with some of my friends. It was the cleanest that this bus has looked in ages. Unfortunately, the very next day there was an accident which ended up with the fire department being called and the bus going up in flames. No joke. All of my hard work cleaning the bus, and and now it is burnt to a cinder. Thankfully nobody got hurt (which is a miracle because one of my friends was actually on the roof of the bus when it went up in flames) but it certainly provided some entertainment that day. There we were, all busy working in the office, when an announcement is made over the speaker system (which I didnt even know we had!) saying “there is a fire on the premises. This is not a drill. please evacuate the building”. And so we did, all looking very confused, as from what I can understand this has never happened in the nearly 30 year history of YWAM Perth. But thankfully nothing serious, and after 15 minutes of chilling out in the car park area while the fire department did their thing, we were all back in the office sitting at our computers. Praise God.
A week on and all the new students for this quarter have arrived, and the base is looking much busier again. Today was Rego day (thats registration day for those of you who dont speak Australian!!) where all the students have to fill out lots of paper work, get a tour of the base, and generally get everything ready for class to start tomorrow. As staff we spend a lot of the day just mingling, getting to know some of the students, and welcoming them onto base. Then in the afternoon, there is always a whole base outing! This time we all went to the park, where there were lots of games and activities, and our evening meal served on paper plates! Its a great time to have some fun, get to know one another, and build community. We dont just work together, we also play together, and that is one reason why the base is so good at welcoming people into the family, and making them feel at home. There may be a lot of people on base, but they are all lovely, and they all genuinely care, which I think is really quite remarkable. I love it.
So now a new quarter has started, and (hopefully!) things will start to settle down a little. It will certainly go into more of a routine if nothing else, which I think will be helpful for me settling in. But all in all, things here are going really well! Thank you to those of you who have messaged me and been of such encouragement. I’m afraid I’m not very good at replying right now (I havent yet found enough hours in the day to get everything done!) but I love hearing from you all. And I will try my very best I promise!
Signing off for now with love and joy