...has seen his fair share of changes throughout his life spent in Barwon Heads. In his early life Don saw the milkman arrive on horse and cart and climbed the Cyprus trees from one end of Hitchcock Avenue to the other. Now a matured man, Don has seen the town develop into a unique haven.
'Honest' Don began work with the Lions Club when he decided it was time to "give something back".
In 2006 Derek Challis, Chairman of the East Timor Project, approached Don with an offer
to volunteer in East Timor. The initiative was to redevelop a run-down school in the city of Viqueque, a sister city to Geelong. Don's reputation for building and improvisation skills put him in good stead for the project.
The conditions in Viqueque bear stark contrast to those more familiar to Don at home in Barwon Heads. Despite sharing a similar population of 20,000, the average daily wage is only US 50 cents while the average family has 6.2 children.
Not knowing any of the native tongue, Don still managed to communicate with the locals using his own specialised sign language- a thumbs up, and a thumbs down!
Regardless of these barriers, the village children were happy to help Don paint the school, for the reward of a can of Coke at the end of each day. The children were thrilled when volunteers handed out books, toys and atlases allowing them to see parts of the world they didn't know existed.
Don remembers his time in East Timor fondly, "The experience was very satisfying." While the school underwent a life changing facelift, Don also helped to change a young girl's life who was unable to walk. Don travelled to the hospital, out of reach to most of the population, to collect an unused walking frame, which he adapted to suit the needs of the young girl.
b.Don saw the girl moving independently using the frame and says "That was my pride and joy." Don plans to volunteer again in the future, with high hopes of a trip to India, as well as returning to see the progress in Viqueque.
Tess is 18yrs old and will commence Media
Studies at Deakin this yea:
Well done Tess on your first article for talking heads, I know you enjoyed meeting Don and thanks to Don for giving his time generously,