April 29, 2006

Thenkyu main boi

Last week, someone new joined in with teaching our language program – but this time it’s someone young! And not only that, he’s really good and seems to be enjoying it so far. He’s only about 20 and helps old E teach Ngandi. Ngandi is really endangered so D, the young guy (my nephew), doesn’t really know the language but he has good brains and is picking it up really quick and running with it. Best of all, he is pretty outgoing and a naturally good teacher. Pretty exciting really.

But what was surprising to me was finding out how different it is to be working with someone young, someone who I can relate to a bit more. I didn’t think it would have such a noticeable effect. It felt really good to be working with someone who naturally understands me a bit better (and I don’t mean in terms of language, I mean in terms of interests, attitudes, values etc.). But then I started feeling a bit sad, because I realised how I am always working hard to understand and relate to the older people I work with (and for them to relate to and understand me too). I realised that without working with younger people I'm that little bit lonelier. It’s just naturally easier for me to work with younger people, we just understand each other that little bit better.

So I’m happy that my nephew D has started joining in. I hope he keeps going. I’ll be happy to have him here plus he has an awful lot of potential.

P.S. Here are the Ngandi words that D and E have been teaching the last couple of weeks: a-dhirrk (kangaroo), a-wurrpparn (emu), a-walppurrunggu (bush turkey), a-yarraman (horse), a-muri (buffalo), a-gawirh (dingo), a-bidjay (goanna) and a-nanggurru (saltwater croc).

April 28, 2006

playing around

I slept very badly last night, even though I was very tired. I thought I would collapse into bed and go straight to sleep, but instead laid there watching telly until I got sleepy at 11pm. But that’s not the end of my story. Sometime later, my mobile phone woke me up. I thought someone was sending me a text message. I woke up and looked at my phone but there was no text message and no missed call. It had definitely made a noise because the phone was lit up too. But whatever noise my phone was making was totally unexplained. It was just after midnight. I fell back into sleep easily but woke up a couple of hours later and couldn’t go back to sleep. I sat there awake for a while, getting eaten by mozzies. Eventually, I sat up and reached for the fan switch to turn it up. At the exact moment I turned the fan up, the touch lamp on the other side of the room went on. In two years, this touch lamp has never turned on for no reason.

So this afternoon, I told this story to my two brothers and one gagu (grandfather) who were here at the language centre. They automically said it was something of significance. My baba said someone or something was playing around. He thought it was a little person. I’m not sure what it was, but it was definitely strange.

I’ve always been intrigued by ‘little people’. I was an exchange student in Iceland and lots of people there believe in them. My best friend when I was there was a mexican-american who knew stories about little people from California and Mexico that were remarkably similar to those of the Icelanders. And since then I’ve heard plenty of stories from Aboriginal people about little people. Similar stories from three parts of the globe is a bit of a coincidence and I still can’t explain what was happening last night.

April 22, 2006

still here

Hello to anybody still looking at this blog. I'm still here at Ngukurr. I just haven't felt like writing much lately and haven't had anything I wanted to get off my chest and on to my blog. I suppose the longer I'm here the more ensconsed I am in life here and the more normal life here becomes for me.

But yes, I'm still here and not going anywhere. Literally. The roads out of here have been cut for a couple of months now. Luckily, I got to fly out of here a month ago for a week or so, but since coming back I haven't been able to leave. Which is fine, but it's now four weeks which is about my limit before going a bit stir crazy and spending too much time fantasising about being able to go to a cafe and pay someone to make me a nice coffee. Don't ever take those things for granted!

I'm hoping to be able to drive to Katherine in a week or two, but there's another stinkin cyclone hanging around which might have plans of thwart.