May 12, 2005

me repetitive?

For anyone reading this, I must be becoming repetitive... yet again, i'm here to tell you that here I am at Ngukurr, still tired, stressed, overworked and badly in need of a holiday.

Yet, in spite of this, work is going well. If i was in a happier and healthier state of mind, i'd be able to be really excited about all the cool things were doing here, but as it stands, i'm just pooped.

Yesterday (wednesday) morning, my mami N had organised to have a big bbq lunch at the language centre. It was actually a really good morning, because it was N's thing and I was just helping. We did grocery shopping, picked up some bricks and a giant grill for the fire place, some empty flour drums for tea and cordial, and then went out to get some wood. Me, baba G, mari T and mami N went to get wood. I'm still trying to muster the energy to learn some Wagilak from mari N but it's not happening very fast. Anyway, back at language centre, we set up the bbq and in the meantime, i squeezed in some language work, helping baba G use the computer to make his Marra body parts book.

Bbq time and it was more work than fun. I knew that the time to go to the school for language lessons was fast approaching and that we'd hafta get a move on, but even tho i started to stress a bit, lunch was great and it was a lovely gesture by mami N to organise it all.

School classes went well, we had all five languages running this week and had some special guests from Numbulwar... some of the language teachers from there were in town. They are very qualified and experienced and it was great to have them helping a bit. Also, we had nunggubuyu classes this week and they went great! Yay. Hopefully, that's the way it'll be from now on.

Today, i woke up exhausted and managed to clean up everything from yesterdays bbq. By that time baba G had come round and we had some quiet time (a rare occurrence) to work on his marra book. We also printed out a whole bunch of revision sheets to go in each classroom at the school. But the coolest thing was that we saved a set and put them up at the shop too:

We made a sign that says in kriol 'yumob sabi yumob langgus?' which means "do you know your language?" and underneath we had five pages - one for each language - that ask 'what's this?" and names eight body parts. We put it up right next the tuckshop where nearly everyone in the community goes to each day to buy food and colddrinks. To me, putting the signs up feels like a bit of a bold move for a place like this... a lot of young people don't care about learning their languages here and what we did today was a pretty direct reminder that a lot of people consider it important to know your language. I wonder what the response will be?

This afternoon, we went an outing that ended up being a lot longer than i'd hoped for. We drove for about an hour to this beautiful plain country. We looked for some jupi (that's a Wagilak word) - a sweet little fruit - and then went to a billabong, got some maburpa (that's a Ngandi word) - a bushtucker/bush medicine... it's the root of the water lily - and then some more bush medicine, a tree called dumbuyumbu (that's a Marra word). You might think this would all be amazing and exciting for a city munanga like me to be a part of, but no... i'm just tired and it wasn't really anything new for me. I drove an awful long way, got back at 6:30pm and badly needed some food and rest.

Now it's 9pm, and i need some rest.

So that'll do for now.

1 comment:

Renae said...

The Kriol word 'sabi' must come from the Portuguese 'sabe' (3rd person 'know'). How cool!

Hang in there Greg - you're doing a great job! And your holiday will be a reward for all your hard work!