Wednesday, 27 May 2009

La La Land

Sometimes it is easy to forget that we have just been on the Tiwi Islands.
Everything is so 'in order' here.

Well.... apart from us that is, we are still having lots of change happening, we need to move in a few weeks again, and as yet we have no firm place that we will go to.
We have been offered a rumpus room and a place for the caravan, the room is just large enough for a bed for Jude and I and a lounge-ish space.
If we take that we would share with the caretaker at Marrara, who lives on the top floor.
And some dogs.
And some chooks.

The bloke is tamed.

We also would have people in the caravan in the build-up, and that would not be nice.

The other place offered today is with Karen Kidd, closer to Darwin city, where we stayed for a few days when we first left Picker.
That is further from the kids school, and would take 20-25 mins to get there. Karen's husband is sailing a boat from Tas to Darwin, and is now caught in the Q'land storms, and has to wait until the weather clears before he can set sail again.
Where will we go?? Who knows as yet.

On the Tiwi College front... well.
Now I don't have to censor it! Remember this is private info!

We had the pleasure of having staff from TC here this weekend, and that was great.
It is obviously extremely difficult there now. A combination of less teachers (hey...that's us) and stress is making it very difficult for those who remain.
In the mix of teacher quota numbers was the Principal, who said he would assist the teachers on afternoons to have a break (as one is legally entitled to) but there has been no assistance at all in the classroom, same as last year. The teachers are way stressed and not happy. They have no breaks all week, after pick-up, until the students leave on Fridays.
Discipline seems to have gone out the window, with students openly walking around smoking etc. Some night the students were out of their homes all night, I am told.
This week one girl threw a stone which badly damaged another girl's ear, last week one student threatened to cut a staff member's throat (and was expelled). All reports are bleak, with many more losses than wins it seems. Most of the house parents are due/desiring to leave at the end of term in a few week, and this will be a HUGE problem for the school. Replacing them is very difficult.
I am also told that the Indigenous Teacher Aides have not been there for three weeks now, as the Hospitality area of TC has been closed and they would have to cook for themselves now. Apparently this is too hard for them to do, so they aren't coming back! Sad, they are good blokes as well.

My good mate Bernard, who is 70 years old and retired and a respected Elder is still there, working away, much to the shame of the younger TAs.
Even he was hit in the mouth by a girl last week, which is unbelievable, and incredibly disrespectful. This fact alone staggers me.
We love these people, but they really need to have some control over their children for this to succeed, which appears shaky at the moment. Please remember them/pray for them as you are inclined to do.

Please also remember us as we try to find a place to live, it is VERY expensive here, not uncommon to spend $500 a week on a small house, or $700 if you want a bit bigger place etc,
Our place in Burnie would be worth a fortune here.

So, that's it so far.

We continue to pay for and get ready for Vietnam, which looms close now. That will be some more picture ops I am sure.
Until next time, CU

Friday, 15 May 2009


I don't think anyone is reading this now??

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The eighth commandment

It's amazing how living here has altered my (Len) thinking.

In Tas the only black people I saw lived in Hobart except for a couple of friends in Burnie.
Certainly not enough to make me really think that Australia is not pretty much all white.

Here is different. They say that the N.T. black population will be the fastest increasing group in the next few years.

I read a story of one Grandparent talking about when the Christians first came.
They taught them the commandments.

The eighth one is 'You shall not steal'.
'They had already taken our land by then'.

We still have it, mostly.


Sunday, 3 May 2009

3 Weeks in Darwin... how are we travelling??

Hi, Jude here.
I don't usually put these comments on to the Blog but had some time up my sleeves. Len is working at Marrara Christian College now in a full time position, mostly music but some emergency teaching for other classes too. This week he has been given lots of indigenous classes to take and he has quite enjoyed those, no swearing and they call him "Sir". I have had a fairly easy teaching load, in the 3 weeks of term I have only done a 1/2 day on a year 8/9 class at Palmerston Christian School, where Sam and Jess are attending. I do have a few days booked in already for Marrara during May, but there certainly hasn't been the huge rush on relief that we had been assured of when we left Tiwi. It is great that we were given the full time position for Len because otherwise money would have been getting very tight. (God knew!)

Sam and Jess have settled in quite well to their school now. Back into that routine of uniforms, lunches to pack, homework deadlines to meet. There is something I really dislike about all that, but at least it gives us some structure. I have been busy working on a photo book of our family's time on the Tiwi Islands, can't wait to see the finished product!! At times I have been feeling very much at a loose end, missing the Tiwi kids terribly and the sense of excitement and doing something worthwhile. There is such a lack of community over here, we don't really know many people and those we do are scattered here and there. There is something to be said for small communities!!

I guess right now the excitement and something worthwhile that I am doing is being a mum and a wife. I thank God for the different phases we move through and learn through. Len and I celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary this year. What a wonderful 20 years of adventures, serving God in many different ways, roller coaster rides, beautiful children and now grandchildren. Not sure how we might celebrate in June, but the journey we are in the midst of is like one big celebration!!

In 7 weeks we will be sitting in Ho Chin Minh City, Vietnam and we will also have moved out of this house. We only had it for this term. Now that we have agreed to stay till the end of the year - because of Len's job - we need to find somewhere else for term 3 and 4. God has put everything in place regarding home, school, work, finance and furniture so far so he has something prepared we have no doubt. Worse case scenario is that we could live in our caravan for a while, it arrives next Sunday which is very exciting.

The time in Vietnam is racing up very quickly and we are hoping the swine flu thing doesn't change anything by that stage. It has been good to have some free time recently as there has been a lot to do finishing off passports, visas, travel insurance etc. We are there for 12 days and it should be fascinating. It is Sam and Jess' first time out of Australia so they are both apprehensive and excited.

Some may be wondering what next for us now that we are staying up here till the end of the year.
Well we are not sure, but are very much keeping all options open. We bought the caravan and have always intended to travel throughout Western Australia before heading home. Whether we do that over the Christmas holidays and be back ready for school to start 2010 or we wait and travel for part of next year is still unknown. One thing that is known is that there are 2 things constant in life, God (who doesn't change) and change. What is waiting around the next corner? Not sure, haven't turned it yet...