The Yuendumu Diaries – Ally Anderson

Late last year, a group of six footballers took a trip to the remote town of Yuendumu, located three hours north-west of Alice Springs, to take part in a Red Dust health promotion tour, through the AFL Players Care program. As part of the trip, Trent Dumont, Courtney Cramey, Jarman Impey, Nick Larkey, Alicia Janz and Ally Anderson documented their experiences for Over the course of the next week, you can read about what they learned and experienced. Here is Ally’s diary entry. 

ally anderson – FRiday , october 18

Last year, I went to Yuendumu on a Red Dust trip and I remember it being so incredible and fulfilling so I wanted to do it again.

My motivations last year were because I saw people who had done similar things on social media and always thought it would be such a cool experience.

I always wanted to do something like this because I am an Indigenous Australian, so I want to connect and learn more about my own culture.

There are so many reasons for doing something like this.

After last year’s experience, I went away to learn about my culture and found out more about my family.

This time I really wanted to see and interact with the kids again. That’s the most I got out of the trip – seeing how the kids live their lives, how happy they are and how much they enjoy us being there.

I remembered a couple of kids from last time, which was cool to experience. Some of them had grown so big, which was hard to believe because it’d only been a year!

We woke up on Friday morning, went to school where the kids had their assembly to kick off the day.

We went and played some sport – soccer, footy, basketball or played on the playground.

Then around 10am, the kids came back to the basketball court and said goodbye to us. I was getting emotional because I wasn’t ready to leave yet.

As we were leaving, we went and found one girl, who was home because she hurt her ankle, to present her with a footy and a jumper from Courtney Cramey (who had to leave the trip a day early due to prior commitments).

She was such a lovely girl and was so happy that we’d taken the time to seek her out and present her with CJ’s (Cramey’s) gift and her Mum and Aunty were stoked, too.

This time I was able to take in more of the history of the Yuendumu community and more of the Yuendumu stories.

The whole trip as a collective makes it hard to point out one moment that stands above the rest but I remember when we first arrived, we walked over to the school and because we had our Red Dust shirts on, a whole heap of kids just started yelling “Red Dust, Red Dust”, and this one little girl, who was about five or six came running over and jumped on Nick Larkey and gave him a hug.

Then she went around and gave everyone else a hug – you don’t automatically get that same connection with anyone else.

I’d tell any person who was contemplating doing a trip with Red Dust to 100 per cent do it.

It might sound bit dramatic to call it a life changing experience but I feel like a different person.