Well. Businesses in Melbourne are re-opening this week, and I will miss my double header birthday with Hayley (nobody knows their birthday here, so noone celebrates it….perhaps I will skip the birthday and not get another year older this year?).
On Jan 3, after a brilliant party season from Christmas through NYD, the last of the Balanda left. Well, I guess not quite as I am still here. But this gives me a pretty unique opportunity to be the only whitefellar here for a bit. Colin and Gutha took Makuyuk into town, and also the other kids except Gummunurra, so I just spent a couple of days looking after Craig and 3 other boys in the extreme heat with no power or bore water for showers or washing up. There was some power the first day, but then it clouded over then got dark and there was no power, dhurrawa insects and it was a hot and humid night.
The boys expected every meal, snacks and even cold water or tea to be not just made by me, but cleaned up, after hunting for where they’d left the cups/plates & solitary fork. Or frying pan. I found this to be really exhausting, but its good to get back to nature sometimes. Not too close – I have nits and I wish someone had some clippers – Sal does all the haircuts in Gawa.
Dungan & Mirrara (Henry Number 2) came up here a few days ago and Mirrarra and the boys took the boat out for many hours – He retured with a turtle, which I helped them to kill & prepare a little bit, so we had lots of food that day. Also they got 4 decent stingrays. Yesterday 2 of the boys got a small shark in the morning and they did prepare that. Its a bit complicated stingrays and sharks, they have a lot of heavy metals in, so the steps to getting an edible ball of meat are: wash, boil in a tin on a fire, pull out all the good bits. pull out the fat, pick some special leaves and cook the fat between the leaves, wash the good meat, mix the good meat, put the cooked fat in and knead it around. Then presto – shark balls, with 90% less mercury and ammonia!!
Looking after Craig is hard. He asks me lots of questions, like if he came to Melbourne could Benny Hinn heal him. He has almost zero knowledge of his disease, and asked me what the disease is called, and what it does. I told him its called muscular dystrophy, and that it is incurable and degenerative. Its really hard, when Craig gets down. I wish someone would buy him an electric wheelchair with sturdy wheels. None of the houses have ramps except for the new house and the schools – which is where he tends to sleep. However nobody hangs around there in off school months. When he was at school I heard he was locked in all night once. Last night I put him to bed after doing art with him for a couple of hours. Mum sent him some excellent artists’ quality paints, and canvas, and Craig wants to do paintings to sell so he can buy an ipod. I’ll let my hatred of all things apple go for this one – go get that ipod Craig! The problem is that he is easily discouraged. I told him that 1 in 3000 babies are born with the disease. I don’t know the numbers its probably a lot less, but that was when he was asking for his T-shirt after a shower because he said that he is shamed by his body. Superstitious nonsense, kind of. Not to him though. So I put on his T-Shirt in the sweltering heat. Everybody is asleep now – its is nearly 8am on the 8th of January 2012. I heard him from 200 meters away yelling for Bunong who was sleeping next to him outside the old school. I saw Bunong open his eye then pretend to be asleep. I feel bad for sledging him online but after yesterday when those boys would not make a cup of tea for Craig (of themselves) I have had about enough of them for now. Its like they expect everything to be done for them and all they do is hunt and play and make spears. They know how to prep sharks, stingray, barramundi and everything and in the next year at least one of them will probably become a father – the early death rate up here and massive promiscuity is ruining the culture, along with white man’s disease, alchohol, and white sugar/bread/soft drink etc that wrecks kidneys and wreaks havoc on the diabetes prone population. Anyway – Craig is lovely. He is patient, thoughtful and extremely intelligent. I cannot imagine what it would be like to slowly lose all use of every limb. Messed up, that is what it is. There is a kid called Gunderoy, which means “prison”. He is the oldest boy of Martina, and he has no dad to be seen, and mum is never here. Yet he is the nicest kid – always helping with Craig, never a dark face if he is asked to wash a plate – he is also probably the best dancer and most beautiful girl on the island in drag lol! When we have a boongala (party) he does that Chooky Dancers zorba dance perfectly, along with all the traditional dances and he rivals Makyuk on the Michael Jackson front too! Last night I was totally stuffed and after a few hours wandering around from Craig to my humpie and back I wondered where all the kids were because I needed to go to bed. I found them in army house with the men my age, all sitting around as they smoked tobacco through a bong. I didn’t think much of it and told Lati to shift his arse and go sit with Craig. After ages it looked like he wasn’t coming and then Colin and Gutha were surprised that he’d been sitting by himself and went down to army house, and cracked it at Lati. I agree it is not a good thing to subject young boys to, but it was just tobacco. I see both sides. Lati quit smoking ngarli on new years, and hasn’t had a cigarette which is great, and next year he wants to quit wayme and he went to town for a choof a couple of days ago, and yesterday they smoked the filth (resin) off the bong (not with the boys) and I guess in his head he’s not actually smoking cigis and like I say that is fantastic. But he shouldn’t have had the boys exposed to that. Plus they were having a ball, telling stories etc – and I can fully sympathise – have a good time, be happy, its so important – but, we don’t need more boys getting messed up on pot and then getting kicked out for exposing it to even younger kids and ending up in the long grass at Darwin. That is what people don’t understand. Family is everything here – and as much as they love their kids, they can’t have them doing what some people do, and getting 3 and 4 year olds to smoke dope. Excuse my language but that is just so fucked up, and it shows how cheap human life is for some people. 2 days ago one of Gutha’s grandsons hanged himself from a fan in town. I can imagine him just staying inside depressed for a couple of years looking at the fan, figuring out how to do it and killing himself. See – these kids know death. Gorrorruy walked out really far into the sea yesterday with a spear and snaffled a Bambi – a freaking leapard skinned massive stingray that puts most other rays to shame. Bloody long tail too – would not want to get hit by its stinger. Stingrays pump poison into you and each pump is just paralysing murderous insanity apparently. They kill from an early age and hit each other hard enough to be considered assault in “civilised” society. They’re very strong, very thick skinned, and extremely athletic – they can all do standing backflips: I saw Jalay do a triple the other day – then he started walking along – flip, flip, flip…..The boys have been psyching themselves up to kill a pig these past few nights. 2 nights ago I spotted Mr Greedyman on the beach and crept back to the fire. We were hungry: it was when Colin had gone to town overnight and there was no power for 2 days. They had the perfect opportunity and chickened out. Ka-KAW!
Sorry if some of this content is offensive to anyone – as always please let me know and I will remove or alter any names, words or events.