March 22, 2005

an 'ordinary' tuesday

well, it's been two weeks since i posted. i might start posting daily (or near-daily) and making this blog a more personal thing. mainly because i can't remember what happens from one day to the next. i need *something* to remind me what happens in the 'kreisi komyuniti' i live in.

so here's my story for today:

oh... just so you know, i work at the Ngukurr Language Centre... my life has *become* the Ngukurr Language Centre... so I'll be writing mostly about... um... the Ngukurr Language Centre.

Well, after a few phone calls I went and picked up my Baba (brother) G. We're *finally* starting the language program tomorrow after only eight weeks of planning. Anyway, we went to A's camp to find out if she's interested in helping out for the Ritharrngu and Ngandi classes. Poor thing, she's sick with blisters n wotnot. We also tracked Baba (sister) C who said she'd come down and help with the Nunggubuyu class. Yay! We've almost got a language program!

Anyway, Baba G finished off the little Marra book we'd made and we went to show the two old ladies who are the best Marra speakers in town, F, who actually told the story, and M. We brought them back to Language Centre and checked out the book. F, a woman of 75 or so years, read the Marra like a trooper... what a special lady. We translated the Marra into English and Kriol. F was really pleased ('yumarr' means good in Marra... she kept saying it) and so was I. I was proud of Baba G too... he did the English translation himself and didn't need me there. It's a big step for these guys who aren't very confident to do this kind of work.

By that stage Mami (Mum) R and Baba (Brother) A, who both work on Rembarrnga, came by too. Tea and biscuits were consumed and things were abuzz. These are the times when I enjoy being here, when there's a good bunch of people here working happily and chatting away.

The old ladies were finished and I gave them a lift home and stopped off at the shop to buy some lunch and supplies. I scoffed down my sandwich and juice and then sat with Mami R and Baba A and read Rembarrnga stories with them. Just when I couldn't get my tongue around any more Rembarrnga words, Baba C came in and I talked to her about the Nunggubuyu classes.

By then, i was buggered... it was about 3pm and i hadn't really stopped since 8:30. I left everyone at the office and went to the school to tell the teachers we were ready for classes tomorrow.

By 3:30, Baba G, Mami R and Baba A and me were at Language Centre adding the Kriol translations to the Marra book. Baba G is just getting his computer skills back. And Mami R, well... she's never used a computer in her life... until today!! Ah, she's such a determined woman. She must be about 50. Her mum is one of the last speakers of Ngandi, and R is a natural linguist. She can speak Ritharrngu, Ngandi, Rembarrnga, Nunggubuyu, Kriol, English and probably more! Pretty amazing considering most of those languages are endangered and hardly spoken anymore. Anyway, today I showed her how to type on the keyboard and use a mouse. She typed two sentences in about 20 minutes but it was pretty special. Once I'd shown her the basic concept she didn't want anymore help... she wanted to do it herself... what a trooper.

well, 5pm came around... knock-off time. i sat in the gutter for a while and recovered from a long day. then, hopped on my bike and cruised around town for a while. i got lots of "hello"s and "hello uncle"s (as well as plenty of "hello "s). i also saw Daisy, the little calf that lives at my cousin H's camp, gallop across the street... it was a funny thing to see a cow running down the street in the middle of a community!

well my goodness... that's my 'ordinary' tuesday. i'm making hamburgers for dinner.

by the way... i haven't explained lots of things that probably need explaining to anyone reading this, but if you want anything explained more, just ask!!! (i've been here too long to remember what things need explaining).

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