Min’s Birthday

Yesterday was Isaiah’s 4th birthday. After lots of treats in Alice Springs, it was a couple of small gifts, party-pies for dinner with a cake, and a few balloons and streamers; I still wanted him to feel like we were valuing his day and that he wasn’t missing out despite our remoteness. At Kindy they had a cake and sang happy birthday; it was incredibly cute to have 12 little Anangu Kids singing Happy Birthday – and there was Min, right in the middle, surrounded by these gorgeous little Anangu kids; he looked really at home amongst them. I was at home getting his cake ready and the phone rings – it’s Matt. “Reuben is coming around tonight because it’s David’s (Reuben’s son’s) birthday too!” “Oh awesome! I’ll put on some extra food!”. Later that afternoon, Judy swings by with some ingredients and asks me to make David a cake, which I’m happy to do because I enjoy cooking. Another thing that we take for granted is things like this; if English is your second language, you can’t necesarrily read recipes, or know what ingredients to buy or cookware you need – assuming you have what you need or have access to it at all. And housing maintenance up here can see community members waiting significant periods of time if their stoves don’t work. So Reuben, Judy and the kids came round and we had cake for both boys. I asked them how old David was. Reuben said 6, and Judy said 9 or 10. The fact is, is that time doesn’t hold the same value for Anangu as it does for non-Aboriginal people, or even for Aboriginal people that live in an urbanised setting; time is less important here. Matt went straight to the source and asked David; he said he was 9. The kids had a great evening playing while Judy, Reuben and I chatted. Judy asked me if it was going rain over the weekend, “I don’t know?” I said – I figured that of all of us her and Reuben knew the weather patterns better than I. A little later she asked again. “Raining this weekend? If it’s raining we can go get bush onions and Tjala (honey ant)”. Matt looks at me: “why are the Anangu asking you?” I felt so accepted; that Judy and Reuben valued me enough to ask my opinion about the weather patterns, even if I had no idea!!! “No, she’s asking you so you can look it up on the internet what the weather forecast is!!!” My heart sank, but we laughed! We’ve made plans to go out this weekend to Reuben’s homelands – and possibly to get Tjala. I predict that it will be amazing, whatever the weather! 


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