Rhonderson (Rhondie) Koolatah is an Olkola man and is the eldest of five: Winnifred, Travis, Dollases and Liam.
As a young child Rhondie was relocated from the Kownayama community and placed in an institution in the South East Queensland region.
Due to the nature of his complex and multiple disabilities including blindness, schizophrenia, cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment and microcephaly Rhondie was separated from family and country and institutionalized for many years.
But his life changed when he returned to Cairns in 2014.
It wasn’t long before When Life Without Barriers discovered Rhondies Kowanyama connections they began to reconnect him with his mob.
Regular visits make a big difference to the quality of Rhondies life.
But this most recent trip was very different.
For the first time in his life Rhondie camped on his traditional country with his own mob.
He was welcomed him home with a special fire, a water blessing and Ochre ceremony.
Rhondie spent long days sitting around the fire listening to the men make boomerangs and spears.
He spent his first night in a swag under the stars.
Rhondie’s return to country will always be a special moment for everyone involved.
Thanks to Life Without Barriers for facilitating Rhondie’s return and a special thanks to his carer Asher for going on this long journey with him and Michael Yam for the touching welcome to country.