Recently my youngest child, aged ten, decided to create a list of things she wants to do before she’s twenty. At the top of the list was a desire to meet Bindi Irwin, of Australia Zoo fame. Molly is an enthusiastic advocate for animal health and well-being, as is Bindi, they are both home schooled, and neither of them are “girly-girls”, so there are many reasons why Molly has chosen Bindi as one of her heroes.
When we found out that Bindi is starring in the upcoming “Return to Nim’s Island” movie, we were stoked. We had loved the books and the first movie so much, both the setting, the story, the characters, and the fact that Nim doesn’t go to school, so the thought of Bindi playing Nim in the sequel to the movie made it even more exciting! When I discovered that Australia Zoo would be hosting the world premiere of the movie, and Bindi would be there to present the screening, I decided to surprise Molly with tickets! She was totally stoked, and we prepared to go.
We had to travel on the same day as the “No 4th Coal Terminal Rally“, so it was a very exhausting day with a rally, an interstate plane trip, a car journey, and all that excitement, but it was SO worth it. We arrived to our motel quite late at night, spent the following day and evening at the zoo, and then flew home the next morning, so Molly didn’t even get the thrill of enjoying the rooftop pool, but nonetheless it was a trip to remember! And what made it extra special was it being a “mum and daughter” weekend. Special times!
We spent the day discovering the zoo, which was a big thing for me with my snake phobia! Molly and one of her brothers went to Australia Zoo on a family holiday one time, but I was too chicken to go to the zoo filled with reptiles, so I made my husband take them. But this trip was something I really wanted to bless my daughter with, and so I decided to face my fears and just go for it! I even – wait for it – stepped foot INSIDE (I kid you not – INside) the snake exhibit! Molly had wanted to go in (of course), and I was standing outside doing some deep breathing when an Australia Zoo worker noticed me. I think she spotted my fear from a mile away, and was, I must admit, so incredibly lovely about it that I took her up on her challenge to just walk inside the first little bit and see the Rainbow Serpent (from Aboriginal Dreamtime stories). I actually did it! Truly! I didn’t love it, but I did do it. I even got a photo of the snake to prove it.
And then, whilst walking through the next exhibit (which wasn’t snakes, thankfully), I discovered that the memory card in the camera wasn’t storing photos properly so we had to reformat it, and the photographic evidence of my snake experience was lost forever. I’m not lying – promise! The other thing you need to know about our day at Australia Zoo was that it was bloody hot! Or maybe I should say sweatingly hot!? I really don’t love the heat, especially when it leaves you dripping in sweat from all the humidity but it was worth it to see the look of delight on my daughter’s face. Here are about a thousand photographs from our day at the zoo, and our night at the movie premiere.
And finally, after a long, HOT day at Australia Zoo, the moment we’d been waiting for…. The gates to the public were closed, and only guests for the World Premiere were allowed to stay. We watched enthralled as security officers prepared for the red carpet event, and we waited excitedly for it all to begin. We’d never been to anything like this before! Finally, the first of the distinguished guests began to arrive, and in true Australia Zoo style it was…… two cheetas!
Here endeth what is possibly my longest blog post ever.
One of Molly’s dreams came true recently, and she was able to participate in a program at Taronga Zoo, for eight to twelve year olds, called “Zoo Keeper for a Day”.
She had the BEST time, although it was hard at first not knowing anyone else in the group. She had wanted me to hang around for the day, but it wasn’t “allowed”, which really irked me. And her. But she was very brave. The way our culture separates the children from their parents for so much of their childhood seems so…. unnecessary!
So I ended up paying too much money to wander around the zoo for the day, hoping for a glimpse of my daughter. I never saw her once!
One of the things that really matters to me is social justice, and making a the world a better place for all to enjoy! I used to be part of a local TEAR group and enjoyed learning about & raising awareness of various issues, but ended up deciding that my time would be better spent doing it with my kids rather than off on my own. I really want to share my passion for this with them, and hope that they’ll also choose a life of compassion and advocacy for the poor and disadvantaged.
I figured they’d enjoy it more and have a bigger impact (and more fun!) if they banded with some other kids to do stuff, so our “World Changers” group was formed! It’s a small group of home educating families, with parents whose christian faith inspires their passion to help the poor. Our aim is to get together once a month or so to learn about an issue, maybe do some simulation games, and partner with the kids as they brainstorm ideas about what we can do to make a difference!
The first thing we did was my daughter Molly’s idea (she’s an avid animal lover!!) and it’s more about helping animals than people, but they’re part of this world too! We did a fundraiser for the RSPCA called “RSPCA Cupcake Day”. All the kids made cupcakes and promotional posters, then we got together to run a stall at a local park after a home ed excursion to a worm farm (definitely no connection between worms and cupcakes!!). We had a lot of fun and raised $130 for the RSPCA! The first step was for each family to make and decorate their cupcakes at home, and make some signs for the stall.
Then it was time to meet up at the local park. We had invited some other homeschooling families to come along (cash in hand!) and we also knew there would be other families at the park who might be interested in purchasing such delicious looking cakes for a great cause.
The kids had a lot of fun running their stall and everyone was very supportive and encouraging of their efforts. For the younger kids it was like playing shops! Some of the more outgoing kids enjoyed going around to people they didn’t know and trying to get them to come and “buy” a cupcake for a donation to the RSPCA. Everyone went home with fuller tummies, and the knowledge that together we’d made a difference.
Donations to the RSPCA Cupcake Day can be made until 3rd October 2010, so if you’d like to make a donation, go to