Monday, 30 March 2009

Lots of pics

I have submitted a few pics to Panoramio, they are the ones who allow pics to be placed on Google Earth for others to look at.
If you would like to see my pics, go to;

Has a few of the Tiwi Islands, amongst others from central Australia and Tas.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

The Last Post....err.....Week

So, here we are in the last week of our time on Melville Island.
It feels quite strange.

The tensions are high-ish and there is no end to the support that the general population ha shown us, it has been fantastic. They put on a farewell for us last night and it was great. They are lovely people here.

There remains tension between us (and all the rest of the community actually) and the management. It is difficult, I feel for them as they have made some hard calls and they were never going to be popular ones.

Mind you, they have very little contact with the general population and this is the cause for most of the discord, even though they would not say the same thing themselves. There are some serious issues here and people are very disqueited by the turn of events of late.
Since I posted last another Family Group Home Parents have resigned after feeling they were given no viable alternative. They are a great couple and will be sorely missed.

Yesterday I had the best adventure.
I went north to Jessie River to fish.
What a primeval place. We have been there before, and it is croc heaven.

I mis-read the tides chart and instead of arriving at low tide we arrived at VERY high tide.
We decided to fish anyway (it's an hour's drive from Picker). We had to drive through some of the sea to get to the creek where we then walked up to a large flat plain inland. Steve, the groundsman, used his cast net to get some live bait, which then died.
At one cast he caught 5 Barra, one was 50cm, and he threw them all back, as the legal limit is 55cm.
In Tassie I would have kept them all and had lots of beaut fish in the freezer.

I took some of Steve's reject fish and went downstream on my own and promptly caught a 65cm Barra. Later Steven's son caught a 60cm one as well, and a new teacher, Mark, caught a Black Fin Salmon.
We then lit a fire and roasted it in the coals, and ate it there and then. It was great!

On the way out we had to fight our way through the bush, as the tide was so high we could not get along the beach anymore. This included cutting a big tree out of the way.
The last bit before we went inland was again in teh sea, and I was worried we might not nake it, but we got out to the road safely.

Along the forst section of the track a huge Buffalo was on the road, and I took off after it.
They can run at 40kph, and they don't slow down.
We were so close that it was throwing dirt onto the windscreen like paintballs. It went for 700 ish metres and then veered off the track.
You can't outrun a buffalo, OK.

On the main road home I noticed that the diesel was lower than it should have been, due to the torturous route out of the beach area, and so turned off the A/C, and wound down the windows to conserve fuel.
Then a wallably came across the road and, deciding the this was not the time to die, tried to do a U-turn.
It was almost on it's side, scrambling for traction in the road gravel, we missed it by a few centimetres, and it sprayed a heap of gravel throught the window into the car, and across my face in the process. A first for me.

Almost all the warning lights were on the car, due to a fault caused by teh water I assume, and then the fuel light was on.
We made it home, JUST.

Man, what will we write once we are in civilisation again?

The plan is to finish packing and then send all our stuff via Tiwi Barge (grrrrrr...) on Wed night/Thurs morning, possible some stupid hour like 2AM, due to the tides etc.
We then have Patrick Salter and his son Thomas visiting on Thursday, so I will pick them up from Millicapiti on Thursday morning, and we will all leave on the ferry to Darwin on Friday afternoon.

I am scared about the future, yet we know God will provide, and it will be interesting and exciting as well.
We have some options opening up already.

This week we paid 1/2 of the purchase price on a caravan that is in Q'ld, and it will be delivered to us in the next few weeks. We pay the other 1/2 when the courier checks it out for us and gives the all clear on it.
Even buying a caravan is not normal for us.

Well, I have to work and pack, and plan and ... well you get it.

CU in the next post.
Len and Judith

Friday, 20 March 2009

My... how times have changed.

Re-reading the last post is funny.

Enough money to keep things rolling blah, blah.

Well.... I wa wrong.

We were sacked yesterday, with 6 weeks notice.

So were another teacher and some support staff.

Jude is devastated as she in particular has been able to get through to the girls and started one-on-one chats with them about how to handle situations they face etc. Her class has some great breakthroughs as well.

So, we will be here for two more weeks and hope to pack up by then, and then we have two more weeks in Darwin. After that, they don't expect us back for the PD weeks so we are totally unsure what to do or where to go.

We have to be in Darwin in June as we have prepaid tickets for a trip to Vietnam, or we lose the money, yet we have nowhere to stay and very little money.

I guess we were after adventure!

At the moment, and this could change before I even finish typing, we are contemplating trying to get a term's work in Darwin and save if we can, go to Vietnam and then travel around W.A. until Christmas.

We can't go home, our house in under contract until Jan next year, and we have to find somewhere for our gear, as the house is full etc.

So, we need;
1. Prayer, not to get bitter, and to find a way through this path.
2. A job or someone who has millions to give it to us and save all that work thing!
3. A good sale for our vehicles so we can get a caravan and a landcruiser if we travel.
4. Lots of encouragement, it is a dark few days, even though the sun is out :-)

and finally,
lots of bloody Grace!!

You can email us at, as comments still won't work I think...grrrr.

Love ya all,

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The week that was

Well all, I promised that I would keep you up to date from time to time, so here it is (uncensored this time!)
PLEASE remember that this is a confidential site, please do not circulate info back to anyone who may be problematic for anyone here, thanks.

We got over the census week where we needed 60 students with 58 students, so that was good. At least there will be the money to keep things rolling.

We have had a torrid time of it here still, with lots of incidents, which I will elaborate below.

When we arrived back this year we were told that one community had a rape and a stabbing there, this was pretty sad news of course.
It was a little later that we discovered that both incidents involved students from our school.

The girl involved in the rape is now not the same as she was before, and being very promiscuous at school, and this had resulted in a whole girls house being sent home during the week, as they were out with the boys, disabling alarms etc so the boys could get out for them.

We had a girl expelled for using a kitchen cooking knife at school during a fight, a premeditated act.
Judith went around a building to see her and discovered she had the knife. Unable to leave she sat with her and prayed...lots.
Finally some girls came around the corner and sparked an angry response in the child with the knife, a fight ensued and the girl was disarmed. Sadly she is now expelled from school permanently, sad because she has no other school options available to her now, and we love her dearly here. She has always been picked on, and knows how to retaliate and not much else.
Judith was quite shaken by this incident.

We then had another incident where a child had knives again, and that took some stopping. One community member was cut on the hand, grabbing at the knife to remove it from her.
And these were not the one involved in the stabbing at the community!!

We have had a lot of mobile phone abuse in class, including filming fights where teachers have had to restrain students, which is a concern if any of the video got out, especially out of context.
We have had a terrible time with smokes being used and passed around, even during class breaks. The Tiwi love their tobacco, and parents supply them with it from a very young age in some instances. It was a real problem.

So.... finally we had last Monday and Tuesday and Student Free days, which included some professional councilors who were to speak to staff one-on-one as there was a lot of disquiet amongst us, due to the stress we are all under and there were some strange emails etc circulating which caused anger amongst a lot of us.
We also spend considerable time on firming up a consistent set of rules. (Duh!!!)

One statement made by the Principal was excellent. He said he was prepared to shut down a Family Group Home (FGH) and not worry about numbers so that we could develop a culture that was workable here (Duh also!!!!).
We have been trying to get to that all last year, and those that have left will sing out a shout of relief I am sure.

So.. Now we have a No Phones at school policy, all phones are to be handed in on Monday to be kept safe (they get stolen if left at home), and no tobacco at all, ever.
This will be interesting in the next few weeks to see who can get through the nicotine barrier. So far more kids turned up on Monday than I thought would, and they seem to be OK-ish so far.
There is a zero tolerance towards violence or threats towards staff (Duh!!).
We have a Blue Ticket and a Gold Ticket system in place now.

Students get a blue one for poor behavior, and 5 tickets brings a detention, 3 detentions brings a suspension, 2 suspensions brings an expulsion.

Gold tickets are rewards for good behavior above the usual expectations of good behaviour, 5 bring a reward, 15 bring a major reward.

This is the first week and we have some way to go yet.

Yesterday was the first day of detentions.

I told three boys they were on detention, spending 5 minutes explaining how and why it worked. They were happy enough but then one kid went off with his towel to go swimming with the rest of the kids (remember this is after 5 minutes of me and a house parent talking him through it all!).
We asked him where he was going and he replied 'Swimming'. We said he would have to stop behind to go to detention and he spat it. 'This F^&%ing shool, I don't f*&%ing care about this school.....' etc etc.
They just don't get it yet.

It continues to be difficult, hard to get them to respond in and out of class, and that is the fatiguing aspect most of all here.
One new teacher said it is this aspect that makes him so tired.
We agree.

We haven't had a Wet here really yet, and is seems that it is all over already.
We had perhaps two weeks of major rain and then nothing.
I think it has all been drawn to the West and East coasts.
This means that we have been able to drive the students home every weekend...hooray.
If we were unable to do that they were talking of allowing them to stay for 3 or 6 weeks at a time.
I reckon most would have resigned by now if that had happened.

It continues to be a magical place to live, when the kids aren't here here :-)
However after 7 weeks I am starting to fantasise about Pizza, you know, the 'bad for you' kind.
And I am not that fond of pizza either.
Bicardi and Coke... well that's a whole new level of fantasy.

It is very hot and humid, with little cloud to shield us during the day, but the nights are magnificent, getting down to about 27 degrees, perfect!

Bet those in Toowoomba wish it was that temp there now, eh.

There is a million other things that I have forgotten, but that brings you up to date a bit.

Please remember to be private with this info. I don't want to get into trouble, OK.

Take care.

Sunday, 8 March 2009


Hi to anyone who has responded to the invitation to look here.
If it all checks out as 'secret' then I will start to post the stories here again.
Please be patient.

Also, any info here is JUST for you, OK.

Post soon. Len