Some days just suck. It’s raining. It’s miserable. We are all getting over a nasty cold and cough. I feel like I’ve been awake since 5am and I’m on my 5th cup of coffee. Matt has been at Umuwa; which is basically the headquarters of all the Service Providers on the APY – doing Occupational Health and Safety training. And he’s been sick as well. We are all mostly over it, but it’s that lingering not-quite-sick-but-not-quite-well lethargy combined with the cold, drizzley weather that’s getting me down today. And unlike in the city, I can’t just up and take the kids to a play-cafe or a friends house, or the movies or SOMETHING to get them out of the house. So we are housebound and it sucks. I have paintings to do and I really enjoy sitting out in the front yard painting in the desert winter-sunshine, while the kids play outside. And the kids are climbing the walls. Particularly the baby – she spends 90% of her day playing outside with the dirt, the dogs and generally just getting grubby. She asked about 15 times to go outside before 10am, banging on the door and yelling to get her point across, because clearly I’m JUST NOT GETTING IT. It was drizzly yesterday too, so she’s fed up. The dogs are causing me anxiety at the moment. I’ve told you about Muddles, the camp dog that has adopted us. He’s landed on his feet and is now a well-loved member of the family. I even caught Matt giving him a scratch last night. He denied it, and said he was just trying to get something off his face… But over the last few days some other dogs have come past looking for food and shelter. One is a blue-heeler-ish type mutt that is skinnier than I ever thought was possible, and he walks like a cat arching it’s back – like he’s walking on tip-toes. I find it so incredible difficult to close my eyes to this, but the pirinpa here keep reiterating that if I feed them, they’ll come in masses and become aggressive. I just opened the door and another poor dog that I’ve seen around, a corgi type thing with one eye missing, bald patches and scabs, and nipples that nearly drag on the ground was sitting on the door step. I think I feel a particular heart-ache for this one because I too am a breastfeeding mother. The Anangu love their animals – this I know to be true. Dogs are a valuable part of Anangu way – they provide warmth in winter, they help with hunting and they provide companionship. I wish that we as a society could better support Anangu to care for their animals; get them de-sexed, fed, vaccinated and tick-less. But given Abbotts recent comments about not supporting lifestyle choices to live in Remote Communities, I doubt that will happen. Living here is SO expensive that Anangu can barely afford to feed themselves let alone their dogs. I wish that when Dr Chris Brown goes to Fiji or other tropical, far off places to care for the dogs there – he instead came to remote communities – done in such a way that doesn’t bring shame upon the Anangu.
I don’t know. I need some sunshine, some fresh air and another cup of coffee.