Meet Bob Bowen – ICV volunteer and all round legend

Meet Bob the Plumber, ICV volunteer and all round legend.

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Bob is 65 and lives with his wife in Culcairn, NSW. He is involved with Rotary, listens to infants reading twice a week, visits an aged hostel and plays lawn bowls. And in his spare time he shares his plumbing knowledge and skills with Indigenous communities through ICV projects.

Bob’s most recent project was with Canteen Creek community, 280km from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. Bob provided training to local men in correctly using the right tools and materials to repair water leaks and perform basic plumbing maintenance. This will save the community money as responsibility and capacity for maintenance and repairs will stay in the community, instead of having to rely on paid tradesmen from out of town.

Bob has worked on 3 other ICV projects, one of which was with the Numbulwar community in the Gulf of Carpentaria where he mentored the local school maintenance man for four weeks.

ICV projects are not all hard work all the time, as Bob knows: “On the weekends I was lucky enough to go fishing with the locals catching Barra and looking for turtle. On one occasion we went up the coast of the Gulf in an old boat. A young bloke Roland took me to his country and dreamtime place. I now realise how important the connection with the land is to Aboriginal people.”

When we asked Bob whether volunteering with ICV had met his expectations, he said, “All the experiences exceeded every expectation. I travelled and lived in other countries when I was younger, but of all of my ‘adventures’ in life, none have been as fulfilling or satisfying as living and working with remote area people. With ICV I have lived in communities and seen places the average Australian never sees.”

And when asked if he has any words of encouragement for others thinking of volunteering with ICV Bob says, “Yes, have a go! It may be the best thing you ever did!”

 

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