Special feature: International Women's Day
In an adventurous life that has seen Chris Whitby walking through jungles and living in remote villages, volunteering has remained her one constant.
In 1989 Chris followed her husband to a foreign country and immediately determined to find her own way to give back to the community.
“I could have just sat at home,” Chris said.
“It’s about using whatever skills you have in whatever circumstance you find yourself in.
“There are always roles where you can help others.”
Living in remote Papua New Guinea Chris became teacher to her two children and was soon also teaching local children.
She taught cooking to local women and, when her husband took on a role as a coffee plantation manager, offered her time to a training college as a sewing teacher.
Moving to South America and Africa next, Chris continued to volunteer her time in remote, foreign communities for 25 years.
“I believe we can take the experiences we’ve had and we can help people. It just seemed to be the thing to do,” she said.
Chris said she didn’t regret her “adventures”.
“We loved it, we really did. What we really loved was the people. We met so many different people in our times.
“It was all about respect. We always tried to understand their view point and culture.”
Giving back to Gin Gin
Having settled in Gin Gin in 2010 Chris’ volunteer spirit is alive and well.
She spends at least two days each week volunteering, having served nine years with the Rural Fire Brigade, four years at the Courthouse Gallery and as of last year is helping at the library.
Chris was one of the speakers at today’s International Women’s Day breakfast hosted by the Gin Gin Neighbourhood Centre.
Mayor Jack Dempsey and Cr Wayne Honor also spoke at the event, held at the Bowls Club, which attracted 30 people to celebrate the theme Balance for Better.