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Written on: Monday July 30th, 2007

A journal entry from: Elective

Our first Monday in Derby kicked off with a very early start, as Angela picked us up at 7am, ready to head out to one of the Aboriginal communities - Looma. It was a 2 hour drive to get out to the community, and mainly along a dirt track, which was difficult to drive on, and often only wide enough for one vehicle. I didn't notice much on the journey up there, as I was so tired that I kept nodding off in the back seat.

When we arrived at Looma, I was surprised to see how pleasant it was. The impression we had gathered from people, was that the communities were all dirty, and crowded, with not many facilities. It has to be said, that Looma has a reputation for being one of the best communities though, so this made it a little easier to understand why it was so much better! There was a school, an oval for sports, a store, and the clinic, which was very pleasant and amazingly well-equipped.

The morning was set out for us to sit in on some consultations with children, but also to get out into the community, and see how things worked. One of the Aboriginal ladies who works at the clinic, Raynella, took us for a walk around the community, describing how things work, what age the children begin their schooling, how well the football team (the Looma Eagles!) were doing, and other various bits and pieces. The people were all very friendly, happily stopping for a brief chat, but mostly, they just went about their normal business, keeping busy.

The scenery surrounding Looma was amazing, and a far cry from the flat, boring streets of Derby. Huge rocks took to the skyline, meeting trees aplenty as they touched the ground. Raynella took us out to one of the large rocks behind the clinic, and we scaled it's heights carefully, to be rewarded with a fantastic view from the top. We could see the entire community, and out across the bush to more hills, and down to the Fitzroy river. It was well worth the climb, and we stayed up there for quite some time, chatting about Looma and how it had come about.

The Looma community has been up and running since 1970, and the current population is estimated to stand at roughly 500, although there could be more than this. The community works well together, with not much of a problem with alcohol, and everyone gets along well. There are many children living in the community, and as is the case in many Aboriginal families, the parenting is delivered by aunts and uncles as well as mothers and fathers. In fact, Aboriginals class their aunts as their mothers too, and will call all of their mother's sisters 'mum'. It seems to work well in most cases, although in some, the actual mother can become estranged from the child, with the aunts taking over the care. However, for the main part, in Looma, the children are all well looked after, and the problems are few and far between, which is fantastic news.

We descended from the rock with more care than when climbing up, and made our way back into the clinic. I learnt some very interesting facts about the way of life, including that often, younger Aboriginal women are a little bit clueless as to what to feed their child, and in some cases that Angela has seen in the past, children of as little as 8 weeks were being fed steak and eggs! Luckily, Angela has a role in helping them out with their diets, and can advise them on what to feed the children, and when, so this is getting better on the whole.

Before we left, we had a quick lesson in Aboriginal medicine, from Wayne, the only male health worker at the clinic! He showed us which trees can be used as an ointment for a painful catfish bite, and what plants can be made into a drink to ease the symptoms of a cold. It was all very interesting, and an eye-opener to see how much we can gain from nature. 

Once we left the clinic, it was around 2pm, and Angela wanted to take us down to the Fitzroy river, to check out the scenery there. I'm very glad she did, as it was gorgeous. A small walkway crossed over the river, with shallow water quickly running over it, tickling our toes as we walked. The river was a beautiful colour, and not murky like some we have seen. The trees surrounding the river reflected fantastically in the water, providing an obvious photo opportunity. The running of the water was the only clear sound down by the riverside, as the rest of the world's hustle and bustle was forgotten. We only stayed for about fifteen minutes, but it was well worth it.

The rest of the day was lazy, as usual. We stopped off at Woolworths, which is a food supermarket over here, and then just slobbed around, reading. It was amazing how tired the day out made me actually, and so an early night was in order.


From Hpracing on Oct 25th, 2015

media are; medium is for Latin netuer nouns, although in the last few decades common English has adopted its own rules for Latin-sourced words as fewer and fewer schools teach Latin as the classical prep for advanced education. What do you call two female graduates of a school? alumnae, alumni, alums? Could the the empty calories in butter on the popcorn and sugar in the soda have clouded your vision? Fiction doesn't have to be true-life since its purpose (other than selling entertainment) is to illustrate principles and ideas in story form. Would you say that this film achieved its illustration objective but failed its entertainment objective? Or could you have arrived with an unrealistic expectation?