Another Remote Nursing Adventure

Well, I've escaped suburbia and headed back outback for another nursing adventure...
this time out in the desert in Central Australia.
First stop was Alice springs, to have a day or two of R&R with my mate Mick. Mick has been working on the community mental health team here for the last few months...pretty scary...but he seems to have been enjoying it...and boy was I glad to see him and be enveloped in one of his big bearhugs at the airport!
After he dropped me and my ridiculous amount of luggage off at his flat (note to self: In future do NOT pack when you re feeling anxious and pannicky!), I headed off down to Todd mall in search of a coffee.
Alice is truly an experience. I'm used to big cities, have lived overseas and have worked with people from many different cultures.....but here the divide between Black and White is So large.....
Todd mall is an outside shopping strip, filled with cafes and shops full of brightly colored Aboriginal art printed on everything from clothes to mugs and kids toys. There are 4 very distinct groups of people who hang out here: The white tourists, either young backpackers wearing sensible boots and colorful clothes, or older retires in neat outback resort wear. These white people are the ones who fill the shops and sit on chairs in the cafes, happily chatting.
The black people, who are really scruffy looking, wearing oversized dirty clothes. They sprawl on every grassy patch, the sidewalks, the steps in front of the church, looking as if they were sitting in their living room, whole families, Mum, Dad, Grandma and assorted snotty nosed kids, gossiping and often arguing, eating and drinking, or simply walking, up and down the streets, in and out of town, only rarely popping into a shop or cafe for a minute or two.
The two groups don't mix. At all. The white tourists try very hard not to stare rudely at the loud dirty black people as they carefully step around them and move past them on their way to shops of cafes...but the black people stare bluntly at the "whiteies", and you get a clear feeling of underlying resentment and bristling anger that is beyond unsettling. Then there's the locals, white and some few black, practically and neatly dressed, and moving purposefully to shopping of work related destinations, paying no attention to either group as they travel through...obviously to used to it all to think anything of it.
i eventually sit down at the "Soma" cafe, a hippie style cafe straight out of Byron Bay with psychedelic music that provides me my much needed soy cappucino and even some gluten free almond cake...
But much as I enjoy my coffee, I an't help feeling like some kind of weird zoo animal under the blunt stares of the black people walking past. I feel like standing up and saying: "Hey, I'm a nurse, I'm actually here to help, don't you glare at me like that! And on top of that, I'm part aboriginal, I can't help being a pale redhead!"
Later we went for a walk along the Todd River, or better the Todd River Bed! Most of the year it is a dry sandy thing with spectacular gorgeous white barked eucalyptus trees growing in it.....when it rains heavily, the river actually fills with flowing water...and you can sense that energy when you stand in it's bed....there was a soft breeze blowing from the desert that evening, bringing a sense of ease and release after the hot tension from inside the town....
i think I'm glad i'm moving on from here!


Popular posts from this blog

Watercolour Painting Demonstration: Negative Painting Sweet Potato vine

Energy Healing- The Basics