My visits to Hodgson Downs are still really great. I got there lunchtime on Thursday and shortly after we - me, some of the old people and one of the teachers - took the high school girls (about 12) on a bush trip to a place called Renyen. Two old men sat them down and told them about the place – the Dreaming story for the place and a whole bunch of other stuff. I don’t know about the girls, but I thought it was pretty special. Some of them were being so bratty and not listening, giggling, whingeing, just acting like two-year-olds really. It’s a shame because some of the other girls are actually quite interested and want to learn. So apart from a couple of girls driving me nuts, it was a good afternoon.
I had a quiet evening then up for work again on Friday. I ensconsed myself into the world of sound editing for a while, then went to see if the old people wanted to come teach Alawa in the classroom. Well, there’s been a lot of arguing at Hodgson Downs lately, and it was just starting to flare up again as I was visiting people and seeing if anyone wanted to come to the school to teach language. It was getting a bit intense, but somehow made it back to the school, accompanied by two of the old men. They were upset by the fighting and were caught in the middle, but were still somehow amazingly calm and we taught some Alawa to all the high school kids for an hour and a half. I think they might have even learned something too. Except for the row of sulky older boys up the back who just think it’s a waste of time.
After that, I ensconsed myself in some more sound editing and transcribing for most of the afternoon. I feel a bit guilty for working like that because I should involve community members in that kind of work, but at the same time, it’s kind of a relief to be able to work solo and at my own pace for a while. I am making some efforts to get some of the younger people involved but I’m hampered by the little time I have to spend at Hodgson Downs as well as the amount of arguing that’s going and a general lack of enthusiasm.
And the other thing about my trips to Hodgson Downs... I'm actually learning quite a bit of Alawa, which I find very exciting.