Amata Anangu Community

our house

our house

Here in Amata Anangu Community we are 115km due south of Uluru, and about 5.5 hours from Alice Springs. It was 300km on dirt, west from the Stuart Highway; the main drag between Adelaide and Darwin. After a 3 day trip with nearly 4year old Isaiah (whom everyone calls ‘Min’) and just-turned-1 year old Emmeline, and our two idiot dogs, Lottie and Spencer in tow, we are here. We made it. After years of my husband applying for leadership jobs in education up here so that we could support our family, and after gut-wrenching despair after missing out on several positions, I was facing the prospect of returning to work in Adelaide after my second baby; this one was our last shot. My husband was over the rejection and needed a break and I reeeeeaaaalllly didn’t want to return to my role as a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department of a major metropolitan hospital. Not that I don’t love it – I felt uneasy going back to work this time around and really wanted to bring the kids home to country. Because of the significant cultural disconnect I have, I feel there are huge limitations to the cultural education I can provide for them. They need to be surrounded by, and immersed in, their culture, language, stories and art. So we were thrilled when my husband Matt got the Learning Co-ordinator role at the school; a role that was made for him, as curriculum innovation and learning by inquiry was at the centre of his role in the city. After weeks of sorting out details of the move, renting out the house and packing all our stuff – we were finally here and it was almost surreal. Driving through the red dust, seeing the wild horses, donkeys and eagles (I was so disappointed to not see a camel – of which there are hundreds of thousands in Central Australia) I felt like I could breathe again; like whilst living in the city I was surviving on tiny gulps of air – but here on the land of my ancestors I could breathe deep and fill my lungs. Fill my lungs with 60,000 years of history. Amata is like many other communities across the APY lands – it has a school, a police station (which is more like a compound, which contains the police housing, all within a fenced…. well, compound I guess?!) it has a shop, a TAFE training centre, an art centre (which I cannot wait to visit but I am conscious of the privacy of the artists), a clinic and a pool. The houses are all much the same, transportable housing with corrugated steel outers. All with iron bars over everything. Apparently crime is rife in the APY. Our house is lovely – and when we closed the front door, the back was painted in multicoloured awesomeness! The Deputy Principal commented that this place must be made for us! Over crowding is a continuing issue for the Anangu up here – so it saddens me to know that I have my 4 person family in a huge house to ourselves, while down the road they might have 15-20 people or more under one roof. The other thing I noticed were the dogs; Anangu and I think Aboriginal people in general, love their dogs. There are up to 10ish dogs per house lying around in the heat. Its too hot today to do anything other than lift a head or saunter over, but they can get aggressive in defence of their territory. When our two half-wits got out of the car, they were soon told who was boss – and it wasn’t them! So there we were, first night in our new house in the APY. It was real – we live in a remote Aboriginal community. Have we made the right choice?

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