April 12, 2005

wanim na?

Well, I haven't posted for a couple of days and I've had a busy couple of days.

Today, we held a special workshop to try and get this Ngukurr language program working properly. I was a bit stressed about holding a workshop because we don't normally do things on a big scale like this but I didn't have anything to worry about. It went well! We had a bit of funding for it from a federal government 'indigenous women's leadership' program that one of our language workers is a part of. So we had stationary and catering (sandwiches, tea and biscuits :-)) and we used the flash Batchelor adult education building. We had people from each language group there, which was a first, and the support and interest seemed good. All very promising. By the end, everyone said they'd be ready to go to school tomorrow to teach language so fingers crossed and our language program will be happening properly! Now I just wish education department or someone could give us funding to do it properly. A lot of the workshop was videotaped so we can send it to the education department now see they can see how serious we are... pretty cool, huh?

After that, I my brother - or from Rembarrnga, wawa - A and his wife - my Mami - R went to cut warlan. old ladies here cut the bark off it, turn it into ashes, mix it with tobacco and chew it. We also got some freshwater too. The tap water here tastes gross.

And tonight, my dear friend K and her friend are cooking a roast and i'm invited over for dinner! what a treat.

Yesterday was a good day at work too. One of the strongest languages here is called Ritharrngu but we haven't had any Ritharrngua or Wagilak people working at language centre this year. (Wagilak is almost identical). Until yesterday. One middle aged guy, T, who i'd met only once before came up and expressed an interest. Next thing he's at language centre and we'd already prepared this week's Ritharrngu lesson. pretty neat. Only thing though, I think my brain is full and i just can't fathom working on another language. Ritharrngu makes number 7!!! and that's not including Kriol. And the languages here are so bloody different too. It's not like just making a few adjustments.

For example, at language centre, I've grown some pandanus plants and we've put signs there with the language name on it. So we've five different names for pandanus which are: mu-rok (ngalakgan), ma-gun-ga (ngandi), ruwana (alawa), dayarr (rembarrnga) and mugarra (marra).

After that, I did something totally different. As an aside, let me just say that although my job title is linguist, in reality I have to be so many things in this job... lemme think: 4wdriving expert, IT person, video and sound editing guru, a bit of aged care, diplomat and liason person, manager, teacher/trainer and more... oh and i sometimes get to be a linguist too! But yesterday i added another one to the list: logger. haha... not blogger, but logger... as in treecutter and timberman. I went out bush with an old man who wanted to cut some trees to build something. we found a patch of the right kind of tree - lancewood - out came the chainsaw, and next thing me n him are carting around logs and loading up my truck. my poor little truck had logs sitting on it every-which-way but we managed. hard work, i tell you! but at least i can add 'logger' to my list of duties as a linguist.

so i've had a fun and successful couple of days. can you believe it?

1 comment:

Catalin said...

I wish there was a photo of you wielding the chainsaw. Can you draw a picture for us?