Community, Culture and Crocodiles

Nutrition Students 2018 Rebecca Watson and Luca Georgiou smallRebecca Watson and Luca Georgiou are in their final year of a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics Degree with QUT and recently spent six weeks in Far North Queensland on placement with Apunipima Cape York Health Council’s Population Health Team based in Cairns. They worked directly with the project team managing the social marketing campaign “Sugary Drinks Proper No Good – Drink More Water Youfla.”

The idea of balmy tropical nights, weekends swimming on the reef and rainforest walks makes Cairns a desirable location when choosing a placement for your final year at uni. Who doesn’t want to combine a holiday destination with an essential part of coursework on the way to graduation?

The opportunity to work with Apunipima Cape York Health Council, an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation that services eleven communities of the seventeen in Cape York, coupled with the stunning location attracts a high number of applications each year.
The students selected this year were Rebecca Watson, originally from Bundaberg and Luca Georgiou from Ballina.
Rebecca and Luca settled into their roles quickly with the support of Kani Thomson, Apunipima’s Community Nutritionist. They were set the task of developing resources to support the social marketing campaign to reduce sugary drink consumption in Cape York Communities and promote water as the healthier option.

“The resources that we developed were a collaboration with community members. The community was fantastic and was keen to be involved. A key part of the brief we were given was that we created a suite of resources that were culturally appropriate.” Said, Rebecca.
Luca added that she was impressed with how Apunipima develops resources overall. “All of the tools and resources for the Sugary Drinks Proper No Good – Drink More Water Youfla has been through several rounds of community consultation, collaboration and review before it goes into circulation. This means that the material is a true representation of Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal hands.”

The students spent a week in the remote Aboriginal Community of Wujal Wujal, located four hours north of Cairns on the Bloomfield River. Wujal Wujal is the traditional land of the Kuku Yalanji, Kuku Nyungul and Jalunji clans – the ‘rainforest people.’ It was during this week that the students had an opportunity to meet with community members and stakeholders and further develop the resources for the project.

“The work has been rewarding, the team have been amazing to work with and Cairns certainly doesn’t disappoint.” Said Luca.

Rebecca said that she has adapted really quickly to a tropical lifestyle and all that Cairns has to offer. “We have been to Rusty’s markets every weekend, visited the reef, been on rainforest walks and spent time on the tablelands, this is a beautiful part of the world. If there is one thing I would like to do before we leave, it’s to see a crocodile. Sadly, or perhaps, fortunately, we haven’t seen one yet.”

So, what’s next for Rebecca and Luca? They have one more placement before they settle into their final semester and then, it’s onto graduation.