So it is almost nine ao clock and we have finished dinner, washed up and had tea. I like that. It feels so much better than going to dinnner on a full stomach. Also, I went for a swim after work. I like that too. It really clears my head and I sleep heaps better.
I have been a pretty slack blogger lately, yes I know but right now there are five other people in my house and I am blogging so that’s commitment. I don’t imagine my mum will be impressed but I reckon Robert Howie might be.
So I am blaming October. The October tiredness that I was talking about earlier this month has followed me right through. Uni has been especially taxing. However the end is nigh. On November 5 I will be finished uni forever, for good and I will be a teacher. Scary. And that week I am going to the Indigo Girls and Xavier Rudd so yay. Then in December I am having like two and half weeks off for only claiming four days annual leave. Yay again.
The other thing that I am blaming is the big decision making process that I am going through. I don’t think I’ll go into too much detail about that but right now Martin and I trying to work out what we are doing next year and I really don’ know what to do. I keep reminding myself that I am very privileged because the reason that I am struggling so much is that both options are so good which means I am very lucky but it is still causing me much anguish. Pray for discernment for me if you’re the praying kind.
I am leaving Alice in about two hours. I am looking forward to seeing my darling husband and my friends but I have to say I wish they were all here so I wouldn’t have to leave. It is so beautiful here and so quiet and even though I have had a lot of work to do it has been pretty relaxing. And I am going to miss mum and Keith again.
See you soon.
I have just finished one assessment which I am very pleased about. This particular assessment may have caused me more suffering than any other assessment so it feels good to have it done. Anyway before I start the next one I thought I would do a bit of a post on my experience at Kaltukatjara. Given that the assessment is about the prac I think it may be a good lead in not to mention gives my head a bit of a break.
As mentioned Kaltukatjara, otherwise known as Docker River, is an 8 hour drive from Alice Springs. It was a long drive but a very pituresque one with Uluru and Kata Tjuta on the way. We didn’t stop as I had been there before and felt that unless I was able to fully engage with these places it wasn’t really worth it but it was good to have them part of the journey. It certainly helped me to place myself and get a feel for the land.
When we arrived at Kaltukatjara we went to the coucil offices where we were to be teaching. We spoke to some women who were hanging around there. Helen let them know class was on tommorrow. We drove around to find some of the other women in the class to let them know too. Apparently this works better than timetables. It’s an amazing place. So incredibly beautiful, with it’s red earth and mountains and tress everywhere. However there is also rubbish everywhere and the town is plagued with the many problems that face these communities.
We then went to put our stuff down. I had a lovely little cabin to stay in. Simple but sweet and I could sit on my balocny and watch the sunset over the mountains. It became a special place for me.
The first day of class was pretty daunting. We were teaching the women about the computer. As most people know I am no expert on the computer but most of these women had not even turned one on before so in terms of content I didn’t feel too out of my depth. In every other aspect though I was totally out of my depth. Basically the women would arrive at sometime and then leave at some time and then come back again at some other time and it would go on like that most of the day. They often bought children or pets so as you can imagine it was very differnt to a formal classroom setting that I am used to and I was unsure how to repsond. I went home exhausted and was very grateful for the peace of my balcony.
The next day I at least knew what to expect and when I decided that I wasn’t going to make this look like a normal classroom and that I didn’t really need to either I was able to relax a little. Basically we were there from 9 until 3 and our role was to create a space where they could play around with a computer and that they did. Unlike most other people I have come across with limited computer experience these women had no fear of the machine at all. They would press buttons and click on things and explore. Helen and I would demonstrate diffrent things and offer ideas for things they could do and assist them when needed but basically they just learned what they wanted to. There was plenty of time for chatting and hanging out as well which was great for me as then I too was able to learn. I was suprised at how much they were willing to share with me and they really were so kind to me. Although if I ever made the mistake of actually asking something that would shut down the conversation relatively quickly so I learned not to. The highlight would have to have been when they took us out to the river bed (no water of course) to cook kangaroo tails. They explained what the different parts of the land were and showed me camels footprints and sang songs in Pitjantjara (their language). I managed to pick up a few words but not a lot really. The Australian governement business manager (the person who is in charge of implementing the intervention in this community) came with us as well. I actually truly believe he is a good person who is genuinely trying to build relationship with the people and implement things in the most respectful way possible. I am not saying that this is a good policy and what he is doing should have been done before the whole thing started but given that it is going ahead I am pleased that at least the person on the ground is good.
It was exciting on the last day when they came in and were able to make a poster about themselves even inserting a photo. There certainly seemed to be more response to anything that was visual rather than words. It was also a bit sad to leave. It really was such a short time that of course I was not really able to get to know anyone beyond a superficial level nor even scratch the surface of the many issues facing this community. It really is so very complex and most people here seem to have some very interesting thoughts and ideas and I guess I have some thoughts too. However I am not going to make any comments here as I am afraid I will say something shallow or incorrect or insulting but hopefully we will continue to engage with the issues.
I want to add indigenous issues to that previous list of things I am going to vote on. I am suprised it slipped me in the last post given that is almost all I have thought about for the last week here in the NT in the very thick of the government’s intervention. Not that I feel like I have any answers at all but lots of thought.
So I suppose I should say something on my time. Not sure what. I have had so many challenging, uncomfortable, wonderful experiences and have really learned so much that it is hard to know what to say. But I’ll give it a go.
So I arrived in Alice last Saturday and spent Saturday and Sunday with mum and Keith. Helen and Jon were also here for a night which was fun. We sat around and talked a lot on their marvlous home. We also went down town and looked at Aboriginal art. Which I guess is what you do in the Aboriginal art capital. On Sunday I met Helen, who is the nun who was to be my cooperating teacher. She is certainly an interesting woman and I have to say I will remember her for a very long time.
On Monday I left for Kaltukatjara which is the community that I was to do my prac in. It is about 8 hours from here about 15 mons from WA border. I won’t talk about that now though as mum and Keith have lit a fire and they have visitors who I want to chat with so I may go and do that but I’ll get to Kaltukatjarta tommorrw so stay tuned…..
“Prime Minister John Howard has set November 24 as the election date, saying it will be fought on the economy and who can provide Australia with the right leadership” (from here)
How boring John Howard is. That is certainly not what I will be voting on. What I will be voting on is:
the IR laws
I know it’s October now because I am feeling the tiredness and overwhelmedness that often sets in around October. It is a time where lots is due for uni, work is busy and there is much on socially but I am tired from the year and don’t have much energy. It is a time where I start to feel like I need a break and while the end of the year is nearing there is still awhile to go. And there are decisions to be made about the year to come and right now I am pretty unsure and confused and don’t really know what to do.