Diverse and surreal
OMG, where do I begin? There are so many stories, so many anecdotes, so many observations and so many experiences. I am overwhelmed with material I don’t know where to start with my next blog.
What would people be interested in?
Should I write about the amazing and inspiring people I met in Warralong like Doreen Chapman who was so interested in what we were doing she came every morning to be involved. Doreen was deaf and did not speak but I had the most wonderful conversations with her about our families, home and work using photos, hand gestures and drawings.
Maybe I should write about how, through the children’s comments, I have picked up just how much they love their country and love living in their community. It’s so clear that their country is central to their happiness. Swimming, fishing and hunting, what more do you need. And how I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to repeat the question that was asked in Canberra to the 60 Tasmanian students, ‘Who can tell me where the Pilbara is?’ This time everyone’s hand went up with ‘Outside’ being the response.
And of course there was the fantastic community event in Warralong when 85 family and friends came to check out the exhibition and the student’s photographs they produced in the workshops. The band was awesome, a group of three guys, Willie, Leroy and Denise who played the best music whilst Greg and Steven cooked up another storm on the BBQ.
Or maybe people are more interested in hearing stories about the environment we are travelling through, like the story of when we stopped to take pictures of the recently graded De Grey river crossing. As I approached the crossing a very large, evil looking bull started trotting towards me, picking up momentum as he went. It appeared he wanted to do battle with me. And in that instant of realisation, with nowhere to hide or trees to run up, I was about to rip my shirt off because Tobi yelled out ‘He’s after your red shirt.’ Despite my panic the bull trotted past within metres, not interested in me or my red shirt. At least Tobi and John had a good laugh.
What about if I write from an angle of ‘being an alien in a surreal mining world’ illustrated by the gentle reminders that ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto’. For example the handbook for our accommodation village says Your accommodation will be withdrawn if you bring explosives in with you or if you fight or engage in illegal activities such as gambling or prostitution. Where the tavern opening hours include from 6:00am – 7:00am to accommodate workers coming off night shift. Or where I’m instructed to Empty my pockets and shake dirt and stones out of my work gear before putting them in the washing machine. Blockages have been caused by stones and earplugs. I have noticed several earplugs in the lint trays so someone isn’t paying attention.
Or maybe people want to hear about how I’m going? How I’m loving the tangible nature of the exhibition, and feel the slight emboss of the ink as I run my fingers over the artworks whilst reading out the comments to the students during tours. Anyone working in a museum and art gallery setting knows that touching artworks is a big no no, so this experience is very delightful. Or the story how I set out on a challenge last night to find one place in Port Hedland that would make me a Martini. Just to spoil myself. ‘We don’t make cocktails’ was the short, sharp response. I thought to myself, ‘it’s only three ingredients. In fact I won’t be fussy, I’ll forego the olives which will pare it back to two ingredients.’ But alas, still no Martini.
Anyway, when I think of how to put all of this diversity into one cohesive story I’ll be able to submit my next blog.