A school is eerily calming once all the children have departed for the day. Time to sit back and take a moment between preparing for this and that. The past month has been no different too any before it as far as there being seemingly endless amounts of things I could and should be doing. In the past fortnight alone I have been as far as Darwin and as close as Tennant Creek for various commitments, nothing is close in the territory.
I once again headed up the highway with the Barkly u15 AFL representative squad for the state selections and development camp. A great little weekend, setting up camp at Kormilda College a boarding school in Darwin, we worked through a lot of early starts and long hard days. Ultimately we had an extremely successful weekend with six out of our eight squad members making the state team. A seriously good bunch of lads who aside from the football, could not stop calling their girlfriends back home.
Had a sneaky 32nd birthday this past week, one of those nothing birthdays between and 0 and a 5. But I was made to feel important by the community, all be it while attending a funeral for one of the old fellas who passed away earlier in the term. Our second indigenous funeral experience since arriving last year, and I still find the processes behind the planning of it all quite frustrating. Overall though the event is a meaningful affair, with a mix of the relatively new Christian influences with overtones of traditional thinking and procedure. Some lovely family led hymns are sung throughout the service and the band that echoed through community the night prior plays along. It is a truly state wide affair, with the community swelling ranks in the week before hand, as family filter in from near and far.
Back to my birthday, it must be said that Emily took care of me for the day. I woke up to a beautiful breakfast and balloons in the hallway for the dogs to play with. Warm wishes were received over the phone throughout the day, once again I was left quite chuffed by it all.
My studies are moving along well, having only one big assignment left for each of the two units this semester. Light at the end of the tunnel, can’t wait for the break as I am well and truly burning the candle at both ends this term.
The army is coming! That’s right ladies, 200 American soldiers will be calling Canteen Creek home for a few months as they pave roads, build fences and provide dental and medical services to the community. My wife may take to walking the long way home during those months……
We have had a local concert night here recently as well, which saw all of the community turn out for a night of bbq and music. Just another example of the community feel you get living out in a place like this. Playing original content mixed with a bit of the eagle and dire straights, it made for a good night out.
Although the rains have left us, the wet season was a good one and has left us with some water holes that we are still taking advantage of. When the time comes for us to return to Victoria, we will look back on these photos of afternoons and twilight down at the outback waterhole and no doubt wonder why the hell we ever left it. Nearly a year and a half into this great adventure and still I love every day of it. The people, the work, the land and the lifestyle are all worlds away of what I grew up with. If you have never had the chance to experience the central Australian outback, I challenge you to do so. Not on the road most travelled, but down the beaten tracks and corrugated roads, through the river crossings and around the sandy bends. You might just find a true slice of paradise, a place untouched where tranquility is achieved by merely turning the engine off. Out here you find the most honest people I have met, with communities of kids where breaking the ice is as easy as kicking a footy.
Go see it for yourself, like me you might end up staying a while.