Alumni stories

Rural Tongue Twister

10 June 2020

I recently came across a list of the 10 most difficult words to say. You can argue what should be in or out, but here’s the list as it appeared on a random website: 

  1. rural 
  2. otorhinolaryngologist 
  3. colonel 
  4. penguin 
  5. sixth 
  6. isthmus 
  7. anemone 
  8. squirrel 
  9. choir 
  10. Worcestershire 

I was interested to see that ‘rural’ made the count.  It is a little tricky to say. It reminded me of the difficulties I had getting my tongue around ‘Australian Rural Leadership Foundation’ when I joined this organisation some 18 months ago. In fact, I still stumble sometimes – it’s a long name for an organisation that has a long and proud history.  

‘Rural’ wasn’t a word I used much in my day-to-day conversations before then.  Brisbane is home and I’ve no strong connection to rural, regional Australia.  

That changed in about 2015 when I travelled to Winton in central western Queensland for the first time to attend the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival.  That was my awakening to the devastation of drought and the heart beating beauty of the outback.  I’ve been back to Winton annually since then and it was the impact of that first visit that led me to the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. 

I’d worked in fundraising for a few years, most recently at a museum and before that a medical research institute. Had it not been for my experience at Winton, the job advert for a Philanthropy Manager at ARLF would not have caught my eye. The opportunity to work for an organisation which existed for the greater good of rural, regional and remote Australia, was too good to resist. 

It would be interesting to count how many times I now say ‘rural’ each day.  When I do, it’s to ask ARLF alumni, an organisation or foundation if they will support our work by making a donation or a grant. And in doing so, hoping that they respond with the easiest word of all.