The Journey (Interview with Rahnje Delvin)
In the midst of exams and assessments, I had a couple of lovely coffee chats with our next featured Shout Out speaker - Rahnje Delvin. He is an amazing man with great potential; I managed to write down a few notes on the topics we spoke about...
You were raised and grew up in rural Australia. How do the living conditions differ to the city?
"I was raised in the backstreets of the Derby. I lived in an older house, I thought it was okay – it was liveable. I remember the long walks to school; it was about 2.5 kilometres on the way and another 2.5 to get home. When I moved to the city, I began to compare the living conditions back at home to here. We actually lived in what was termed as ‘poverty’. The houses my classmates lived in were two-story houses with pools and big backyards. Houses back at home were just as old as ours. There would be street parties all the time. There were also lots of fights as a lot of disputes were present within the families.
I realised living in the city meant I had a structured routine here. Constant regular meals were something we never had back at home. The facilities back at home are not as developed either, especially the regional hospital. I still go back to the Derby twice a year to visit family but for the most part its for funerals. "
Tell us about yourself. What is your background? "I am a very academically driven person. I’m always striving to learn, and being at school is very enjoyable for me. Growing up, I was that nerdy kid that played video games when I’m not studying. My hard work led me to earn a scholarship to move to the city for high school. I went to Aquinas College and I stayed at a boarding house. My routine was simple; I studied on the weekends and attended my classes on the weekdays. Moving to Perth was daunting, there were only 15 Indigenous kids in my school that had thousands of students attending. Along with the challenges I faced, it led to a poor mental health. In year 11, I moved to a hostel in Mount Lawley where I took care of the other Indigenous children. I juggled my life taking care of the kids whilst balancing Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) based subjects and a Certificate IV in Business that I was undertaking at the time. It was hard, but it was a transitional stage of my life. It felt empowering to look after the boys…they gave me a sense of purpose. Now, I am a first year university student studying at University of Western Australia. I’m currently studying Sports Science and Exercise Health. I’m in the greatest well being I have ever been in. I have built up my mental strength to keep me motivated and driven. Everyday, I’m thankful I had the journey I did otherwise I won’t be where I am now." You haven’t actually been to a Shout Out gig before. What will you talk about when the opportunity arises?
"The main topic I want to talk about is mental health and well being. That’s what has affected me the most. I want to contribute to raising awareness on mental health as well as draw attention to healthy coping mechanisms. I also believe the lack of education on this topic really affects people. My community back at home don’t really know much about this topic. As a result, they turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drugs and alcohol once they are faced to deal with their intense emotions."
What would be your advice to anyone who is facing the same situation as yourself?
"I think talking is great. At the start, I could never bring myself to speak to a councillor because I used to just cry. I realised that I need to hear myself out.
Back at home, the mentality was ‘when something bad happens, it’s normal to be sad and not do anything to move forward’. I think empowering others and being empowered is so strong."