Living in the 'Hood

Well, I've moved into "Town" with two of the other nurses..
The delightful Peta, who has years of experience as an ED nurse and out bush, and Sue, who is a midwife with a lifetime of stories...
I'm learning so much just from listening to the two of them...and it's also good for me to finally have some great older role models. Intelligent, active, interesting women as housemates...
We're living in "the manor", a somewhat ramshackle older house up on stilts which overlooks the carpark behind the supermarket. Which is also it seems a central meeting place for the locals. Our "manor" is the only high building, and is surrounded by a nice sturdy colourbond fence, closed with a chain and padlock. so we glide through the crowd in our work vehicle, to the waves and greetings of the locals, and then close the fence and padlock behind us, leaving them sitting out on the curb in front, shouting, gossiping, drinking wine, and generally behaving exactly the way you usually see drunks, druggies and homeless people in inner cities behaving. Except here it's whole families. Grannies, small kids and babies included. And many of the DO have houses as well.
But like your traditional street people, many of them are dirty and dressed in ragged filthy clothes. And everyone is drinking beer and chateau de cask. Fights and arguments break out on a regular basis and the general level of conversation is a rough shout full of "fuck" and "ya bastard"...the women's voices dominate the sound horizon...and it leaves me wondering if these are really the same people who walk shyly with downcast eyes into the clinic and whisper so quietly that I can barely understand them.....
I feel so weird....Im used to living in rough neighborhoods...Ive been broke and even sometimes part of the street scene for large parts of my life, but this time..I'm separate and apart, simply because of my skin color. I smile and wave at my neighbors, and feel really bad about locking the gate with that bloody chain and padlock. But my roomies tell me stories of disappearing troop carriers out in the bush, and point out that the chain will probably be stolen by morning if we don't lock it around the gate too.
Tonight we're having a special dinner as it's Peta's birthday...so we'll be out on the verandah for drinks looking down on the rabble later on...
i gave Peta a bag of water bombs for her birthday this morning...we've been joking about lobbing them at the street mob when they wake us up late at night with the never ending fighting. It's such a tempting idea..but I can already see the headlines; "RAHC headlines incite racial riots in Tenant Creek with water filled balloons."
Could almost be worth it just for the story....

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