Our Day Trip
Thursday, 25 October 2007
Here are some of our photos from our day to the Aboriginal & Torris Strait Islander Cultural Centre.
Today we visited the cultural centre and what a pleasant day it turned out to be! So far no side effects from drinking the water in Inala - it was extremely hot out throwing boomerangs and well I just had to chance sprouting a third arm in favour of a parched throat!
So our day started at 8.30 - naturally the bus was late, and it wasn't even a nice bus. I haven't been on a bus in over ten years and well this one looked to be about that old! They had actually made the aisle down the middle smaller because they added another row of seats - so you had three on one side of the bus and two on the other - and I think the seats were designed for Lilliputians and not giant mothers! Any way enough about the bus - it took us at least 45 minutes for the bus driver to find the cultural centre and then we had morning tea. First lesson was about the Aboriginies and what animals they caught for food and how they did it. We got to see various objects and learn about how nice turtles and (oh my god!), Dugongs are to eat. Thankfully at least one child told the man that they are nearly extinct! Then we got to play with spears, axes, digeridoos, some sort of bomiknocker (you *quote* club snakes and other animals out of trees with it!) A photo is above with Amber modelling spearing said turtle! I also learned what a Woomera is - nope not a detention centre, it the little wooden thing the spear sits in to give it a bit more power before killing some poor animal unawares! We also learned about the good spirit that happily sits up in the ceiling of the building we were under (looks like Mr Burns after treatment!) he happily watched over us for this part of the morning. The next lesson was with "Uncle Wally", a vertually non-understandable person from the Torres Strait - his words kind of ran together and he substituted B's for V's, and P's for F's - but gosh was he funny! The kids all loved him. Sadly though he decided that I was to become a colourful fish that needed spearing with what I thought was a pretty stick with emu feathers neatly attached to the end! You should have seen the concentration on this very dark, hard of hearing old man! It was quite embarrassing until Amber piped up and said "not to worry mum, he just wants a coke from the machine next to you!" I suppose in the year 2007 and not 100 years ago this was possible. We learned new words, about the difference between lore and law (yep we got into a discussion about how the law makes you afraid and constantly thinks you are doing something wrong), and we looked at all the things the ladies from the Torres Strait make - because that is their job - not the mens. The mens job is to make a mess with the children so the ladies have something to do with their day - his words, not mine! Once this lesson was over we broke for lunch. The kids were all a chatter about what they learned and then started hunting lizards. We also found a Rainbow Serpent painted on a path - my favourite story from the dreamtime! After lunch we got to learn how to throw boomerangs. I learned that boomerangs come left and right handed! All the kids got to have a go with the boys in one group and the girls in another. Amber really enjoyed this activity and managed to throw the boomerang a short distance. I even got to have a go - it was hilarious. Turns out I'm quite good and the darn thing came back to me with the guy yelling "watch out miss!" and running with his hands in the air to protect my head!" I was perfectly safe as it sailed past me nearly touching the ground and then picking up speed again and taking off into the air! When we got back to the building face painting had started and I got to paint faces with ocre - a red dirt used as paint when mixed with water, and then dotting with white paint. The aboriginal men are extraordinary artists! I couldn't believe how neat they were with paint and a stick! You can tell I did Amber's face! Thinking this would be it for the day we all sat down as the men showed us how to do an aboriginal dance. Again the boys got up first and then the girls. They stood in a circle and walked around it holding their arms like an emu walking. The men made sounds with their mouths, a digeridoo and clap sticks as the children dance. Then came my worst nightmare - the parents had to get up and dance! Sitting in the front row I was the first up and then finally someone joined me and then the others. It was a shame the teachers didn't get up first - they didn't really want to participate much at all, and just relied on the parents alot. So we did our funny dance and finally I got to retire to the bus for the trip home. It was a great day, we learned heaps about these two cultures.