Angels on the Road with Tam & Sal
Today, we started our trek west from Drought Angels HQ in Chinchilla, ready to travel the 455km to Charleville with a boot full of Drought Angels Care Packs and Hamper Boxes. Yep, we were ready for an adventure in the vehicle we have dubbed “Freddy the Fortuner”!
Whilst travelling through the different townships heading west, it was great to see some of the green pastures…. sadly though brown, bare barren paddocks and dead trees were by far a more prominent sight.
As we entered the “The Mulga Lands” we noticed a rapid change in the scenery, there was barely a spot of green for as far as the eye could see. The landscape was now made up of dry parched red soil, dust and Mulga.
As a side note for those who may not know, Mulga are hardy Australian native plants found throughout inland Australia. With an unusually long tap root, the Mulga can withstand long periods of drought.
It is very easy to see how critical things have become simply by the fact that even the Mulga was struggling to grow and some even dying, this drought is just destroying everything. This certainly hit home with us, the prospect of how some of these Primary Producers are entering their 10th year of drought, you certainly could see that these farmers are doing it tough.
We woke early and were ready for another day on the road, time to get out to the farmers now. We did a grocery shop at the Charleville Cornetts Supa IGA to grab a few fresh veggies. Did you know, every $1 spend in a local community goes around 6-7 times? It’s just fantastic to be able to SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES and we encourage everyone if and when they are in small towns to do the same.
We were ready to head to out! Leaving Charleville, the storm clouds seemed to be brewing and a drop or 2 of that liquid gold fell from the sky. We got about 20km up the road and all of a sudden blue sky surrounded us and not a cloud or drop of rain in sight. This seemed to be a reoccurring pattern that day, the storms were so narrow and looked promising but many a farmer continue to miss out. It was heartbreaking…
The further inland we got the more dire the circumstances became. DRY…ARID…PARCHED LAND….begging for a drink.
This is the reality check we think many have missed – it is a 300km round trip to the closest supermarket and township for supplies – these families live in what is known as “complete isolation”. We found it very humbling that the people who put the food on our plate can go without so much, just to be able to do this. In suburbia you can walk a quick 10 minutes to purchase the food our farmers produce. These farmers need to travel such a distance, or if the budget doesn’t permit (which it often doesn’t) they just do without…
Further into our trip, we reached our first “traffic jam” – Cows. We slowed down and could see a herd of Droughtmasters coming to the car to say G’day. You could see these cows had been doing it tough, we hoped some of that patchy rain would bless their land sooner rather than later.
About another 20km or so up the road another “traffic jam” – a log across a bridge. Sal & I looked at each other and said in unison, “We have come this far, we are not turning around now. Drought Angels do not let anything get in their way of delivering a THANK YOU.” Needless to say, it took a little bit of girl power, but the log was moved and off we went again.
We reached the end of the road – the property. A place where humble beginnings are made, and quality produce is grown for Australia’s population to enjoy and savour.
So much felt wrong with this picture, how is it a farmer can suffer so much heartache, isolation and poverty just to produce the nation’s food. With little to no assistance, no one near to listen to their worries and no kind heart to feel their pain.
We met our farmer, who was full of emotions. We carried in our care packs and hampers; our eskies filled the empty freezer. The farmer was in shock, they could not believe it.
We sat down on the house deck which was surrounded by arid land and dying mulga. We listened and talked about the everyday issues that weigh on a farmers shoulders. The need for help and assistance has never been greater in our drought affected areas, not a lot has changed for them even though the world at large has changed.
As we left, we received a wholehearted smile and thankyou from the farmer to which we responded, “No, thank YOU for putting the food on our plate!” We honestly believe that the smile that followed was one that was not worn in quite a while.
The journey back to Chinchilla was filled with reminiscing the highlights of our little trek and how a gesture so small, can mean something so big to someone.
We felt a renewed inspiration and purpose and are pleased to be able to share this story with the Drought Angels family. Don’t forget that any help you provide to Drought Angels helps families just like this every single day. Farmers are receiving assistance that helps them to put food on their tables because like Tash always says “the people that put food on our tables should not have to struggle to put it on theirs”.
DONATE NOW To help these farmers to keep food on their tables.