Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Digs

This week finds me in my new abode. I’m loving it here – my house mate is lovely, my bed room spacious. The house is raised so the view from every window gives way to the lush tropical tops of trees.

The main thing I miss since moving here is making my morning and afternoon way to work over the rail bridge through Ryan’s Park. My way now, though a similar distance to work, leads me through the town centre, which has a completely different vibe. When I go through the park, I am greeted by the people sitting there, or I greet them, calling out ‘hello’, ‘good morning’ as I pass. Then recently changed, much to my amusement and delight, last week when one of the Warlpiri interpreters introduced me to a group of friends he was sitting with. Now every time I go through the park I am greeted with calls of ‘hello Nangala!’, ‘good morning Nangala!’, ‘hey, Nangala’ Such a welcoming atmosphere. Since moving, my way through town leads me past people who keep their heads down, not looking at me, let alone talking to me. Perhaps this will change in time…

This week I attended my first bush court at Barunga (supposed to be pronounced ‘Bar-ung-a’, but Katherinites usually say ‘Bar-ang-ga’). What’s that? you ask. Bush court is when the Legal Aid lawyers, magistrate, interpreters and correctional services make their way out to communities to conduct court there. Queenie (the interpreter) and myself spent a peaceful day sitting on the grass discussing stories, people, and problems with interpreters. There is another bush court next week
(Timber Creek), the week after (Lajamanu/Kalkarindji), and two weeks after that (Ngukurr). It’s great to be able to see the places and meet the people I have been hearing about. For some places I need to apply for permission to enter through the Northern or Central Land Councils – I have permission, I must carry a permit at all times while on Aboriginal land.

Well, even after my afternoon siesta, I am bushed (writing this Thursday night, though probably posting on Friday morning). Good night all.

Kriol phrase of the week: Maiti ai garra lenim yu lilbit dijan langgwuj.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Raging social scene

Again apologies for the delay in posting.

Over the last two weeks, I have been busy conducting a Kriol Cultural Awareness Course (for whitefellas) and then an Interpreter Training Workshop (for blackfellas). Although I have been busy, strangely enough, I have not been 'stressed out' - or at least only mildly so. Katherine has done strange and wonderful things to me: I no longer frantically run around as I watch my plans and expectations crumble before my eyes; instead I calmly sit, or walk to the kitchen to make a cuppa, and watch as my plans and expectations crumble before my eyes. It's a much nicer way to do things, I assure you. The NT is seeping into my system - Not today, not tomorrow, not Tuesday, not Thursday, next time. NT.

Kriol course went well. It was my first time conducting the course, and I did so with much guidance from my fellow linguists, Lauren and Salome. We all presented
different aspects of Kriol language and Aboriginal culture in the Katherine region. Three Kriol speakers helped with pronunciation and facilitating conversation in Kriol.

The interpreter training course was coordinated by me, but the actual training was conducted by Michael Cooke, an expert in Aboriginal languages, and much experienced interpreter trainer. We also had several professionals come in and share their experiences and expectations of the interpreters they work with. The main problem with training was the poor turnout - with only one student for the first half of the last day! But on the plus side, it gives me an idea of which interpreters are reliable, and it was good to be able to see their different levels of skill.

The busy couple of weeks has been followed by an insane weekend. Starting on Thursday with my birthday:

Thursday May 3rd:
6:30am. Pancake breakfast at Damian&Aideen's (1)
--- work all day ---
7:30pmish. Impromptu birthday dinner at home - Rob cooked Roo Curry (2), had such famous Katherine faces as Lauren, Enrique and Salome, and Kim, our international guest for the evening.

Friday May 4th:
Back to the grind at work.
6:oopm. Couple of birthday glasses sparkling wine with Rob.
8:00pm. Arrive (fashionably?) late to own birthday drinks at Diggers Den Tavern (3)
11:00pm. Walk up to 24hr Servo for dessert which we ate standing out the front.

Saturday May 5th
10:30am. Coffee at Cafe Dieciocho (4)
2:30pm. Rob cooked fresh pasta for lunch.
3:00pm. Kriol Bible launch at 40th Katherine Christian Convention (5)
7:00pm. First Tick Market of the season (6)
9:00pm. Katherine Country Music Muster (7)

Sunday May 6th
Typing up blog post.
Tonight I will be making my way over to a Mexican dinner party.

Who knows what tomorrow has in store?

(1) Irish friends who moved up here about two weeks after Moi.
(2) He is famous for curry.
(3) Meant to be there 7:30
(4) Lauren&Enrique's house - they have a coffee machine.
(5) Yes, this was the most exciting part of my day - I bought 2 bibles, one for work, and one for me.
(6) Not Flea, Tick. haha, witty Katherine humour, haha! I bought some local honey and an impossible puzzle.
(7) Yep, this lived up to the country music stereotypes you know and love - girls were 'sweet as candy', 'drinking whiskey', we yeehaaed and all.

Catch yas all later!