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Malaga, Spain

18 August 2011

We are leaving Malaga. Many tears and plenty of hugs. A great bond has been formed with the Spanish youth of Malaga. Chris the translator was loved by all – keen to do anything for all people. And the girls – well there were plenty of willing helpers as both the boys learnt Spanish very quickly and the girls learnt English. The walking trips to the main venue where dinner was provided was a long one but it was the time where we bonded the most. 43 minutes was timed on one occasion. Sometimes we did it 4 times a day – so plenty of talk time – the last one often after midnight. The food was sensational but maybe the boys didn’t like all of it. Paella was great but only one boy found it hard to eat the rice based meal. Bread and more bread for breakfast, typical lunch provided in a paper bag could be pasta or soup in a plastic container with a slice of chicken in another plastic container. This was accompanied by a piece of fruit (fruit seems rare in Europe – at least for pilgrims.), a can of drink – pepsi, bottle of water and bread, bread, bread. Dinner could be bread with a filling and again the extras without fruit, maybe yogurt.

We have experienced a Mass involving all Oblates, a cultural performance, Catechesis by the Director General of Oblates, Oblate cultural performance by all countries, visits to ice cream shops, lots of Aussie Aussie Aussue, oi, oi, oi, plenty of mixing with the other countries, plenty of walking, a discussion group with other English speaking countries, dancing and talking.

One of the highlights the boys will remember was the cultural performance by all Oblate nations. Bolivian with their grass tribal masks, Spanish flamenco dancers, Ukrainian doing the Cossack dancing and Turkmenistan with white fluffy hats and the boy serenading the girl. We came on with our presentation – and we were wrapped. Our performance consisted of a medley of Australian songs (eg We still call Australia home) sung by 3 lines, one standing, one kneeling and one sitting. Each person had one part of a nine part picture of some aspect of Australia and at a given time would flip to reveal the picture (koala, surf board, aboriginal) and at the end they were flipped again to reveal the Aussie flag. It went flawlessly with each person having a role and our Spanish guides having the special role of flying the Aussie flags behind the performance. The reception of each act was electric, with enormous positive feedback, chants and high fives all round. It was more like an American College basketball match than a reflective cultural recital. Many lost their voices by the end of the night.

The American born Oblate Superior General, Fr Louis Lougen OMI, gave a talk on the relevance of the work of St Eugene to modern youth. One of many ideas that he put forward involved was that just as a bicycle needed two tyres so does our faith. One wheel that is essential for youth to progress in their faith is the wheel of a personal relationship with Jesus founded on prayer life. The second wheel was the wheel of community of the Church where we help each other express and develop our faith. One wheel without the other produces little development. The word Oblate means to give of yourself – what are we prepared to give of ourselves to others and the Church. This was given in the context of a slide show on the Spanish Oblate martyrs of the 1930s – about 22 martyrs.

The talk was followed up by discussion groups. A picnic lunch was interspersed with four square ball games started by the Aussie and a touch Football match. There was constant mixing of national groups. In our discussion group there were people from Swaziland, Florida United States, Montreal Canada, American Indian Reservation, Johannesburg South Africa, Texas America. Andrew Aiello found himself mainly in an African group that gave some good insights.

Visits to ice cream shops were a treat. Some boys seeming to have inexhaustible supply of (parents?) money. It was a little tricky getting use to the Spanish hours – turning up at 4pm to find it closed but then open again at 7pm. Also tricky was ordering. On one occasion the shop shouted Mr. Montoya free ice cream after translating about 40 orders – at other times there was much gesturing, sometimes frustration and generally correct orders.
 

Some other highlights

About 1,300 constantly moving Oblate pilgrims chanting and taking to their hearts the Aussie cry of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” to which the reply was “Oi Oi Oi”. We would pass another national group in the street and they would call out “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” and we would reply.
Bringing into the breakfast room a sachet of vegemite and watching the Spanish girls taste it and then run to the kitchen taps

Ninja game has caught on amongst us and gives passer bys some entertainment. Taught by the Italians, a group, large or small, would form a circle with the aim of hitting another’s hand with his own. Each person in turn has one movement, countered by the one defensive move by the person under attack. Each person general adopts a kung fu stance. On the last night the guard at the stadium became quite agitated as the boys started to take up their kung fu stances. He was calmed quickly.

Olive groves give the hills a lovely patterned look. A Spanish countryside. They dominate the landscape as we leave Malaga.

Temperature did not reach the predicted 45 degrees but only got to about 38.

The thing, people, event in Malaga I loved the best ……………… was meeting people from such a vast amount of places. In particular the people of Swaziland and those of Texas (and the forming of the new nation “Textralia” which was founded by lachy Hudson – Australia and Roger Sanchez - Texas) -Connor Von Doom.

 

……………meeting new people each day from different countries would be something I loved the best in Malaga. It shows how much they are proud to be where they are in the world and the faith they inherit. Adrian Broccio

………………was that I met wonderful new people around the world. I loved Olympic Stadium. I also loved the volunteers they were very nice and I would love to meet them again. Andrew Aiello

.…………… was the sense of community that was brought about. Knowing that there is an Oblate family outside of Mazenod where you could freely talk about your faith was comforting. Tony Pham

……………… was the people, everyone made it feel like we were one big Oblate Family. The sense of community was overwhelming which made the experience very enjoyable. Anthony Giuliano

……………… was without a doubt the first night of the encounter. Meeting the people, all of which are very friendly, and destroying the Americans in chants! Also the volunteers were extremely helpful and friendly.

………………was everything, but mostly the people. For me the highlight was being able to communicate in the same language as the people from the country. Also helping people with translations to either ask for food or just to flirt. Carlos Sandoval

……………… was definitely meeting so many people from around the world who are proud of their country. I have made friends from many different places and hope to see them again one day. The Spanish volunteers were so nice and helpful to us in every way. James Gardner

………………was the volunteers that made our stay so amazing. They were an amazing bunch of kids and I think that each of us pilgrims has formed an everlasting friendship with each and every one of them, despite the language barrier. Will Ryan

……………… was meeting people from many different culture, mixing with people from all over the world, understanding their customs, especially those Texans, and the creation of Textralia. There was a great sense of community within the whole running of ceremony and the events in Malaga over the past four days have been amazing and the best part of the trip so far. Zachariah Willatgamuwa

The people at Malaga I loved the best without a single doubt in my mind. They were fantastic, superlative, dazzling and above all they were dependable. They introduced me to the stimulating language known as Spanish, which I am slowly gaining comprehension. Their sense of honesty and patriotic approach to both Australia and Spain drew me to become ‘amigos’ with them and their friends. David Tobin

The event at Malaga I loved the best was the final concert at which we sang our Australian medley song. I enjoyed it as we were able to show off and be proud of our country, but after performing we could still just as easily connect with every single country out there in the crowd. The other youth were able to relate to us as we are all young and in the same spirit. Shannon Vaz

I loved Malaga! I had a great time meeting very friendly people from across the world, but more importantly meeting people from Spain. I think I made a special bond with some of them and I have a feeling I have made friends for life in, Cris, Cristi, Bird?, and Alle. They made this amazing experience even more amazing. Besides the beautiful people I met, I also loved the events. The final night was inspiring, I was very proud to call myself Australian. AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE The Coolest Year 10 @ Mazenod

………..… was how the Oblates, despite being from all over the world, were so close to each other. Although we had never seen any of the Oblates from the other countries before, we hit it off immediately and then talked and acted just as we had known each other all our lives… it was great! Dwight Rogers

……………… was when we went into the stadium and the whole Australian group yelled out aussie aussie aussie oi oi oi and the whole crowd went skitz. It was off the hizzy. Nicholas O’Hara

……………… was creating Textralia with Roger from Texas and trying to teach the Irish how to say bus with Anthony and Nick. – Lachy Hudson (Iona QLD the BEST State) ;)

……………… was meeting people from different countries and talking about our faith and what we believe in. I met many different people from all over the world and hope to stay in contact with them. Stephen Pocock

……………..was the meeting of all the countries outside the stadium. Everyone was so excited and waving their flags. Everyone immediately started talking to as many different people they could. All the English speakers got on well together. We were all pumped for the days ahead and couldn’t wait for it to begin. Lachlan Cauchi

……………..was the major event for the Diocese of Malaga with the Bishop. I found it amazing that we were representing not only our nation Australia but also the whole continent of Oceania. Also that I was given the opportunity to read a prayer for Oceania which was an amazing experience to talk in front of so many people, one I will never forget. Tishan Lokuge

…..………… was being on the bus with the Irish singing loudly and then the bus driver telling them to be quiet on the way home from the festival. I loved the fact that everyone that you talked to was friendly and wanted to talk to you. The meeting of the Superior General was my favourite event and hearing what he had to say. Chris Warren

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