Today in Elcho I spent about 3 hours talking to some of the elders about what THEY need vs what the Australian Gov’t thinks they need. Turns out it’s quite different. These people used to hunt, fish and fend for themselves. Now the gov’t just gives them money twice a month but without jobs or really much going on the money has little to no value. Gambling sometimes as much as $14,000.00 at a pop on cards is pretty good proof of that. There is hope though. A farm sits waiting to be cultivated to grow papaya, bananas and other assorted healthy food that can give this community some of it’s old pride back. Pride in ownership. Everyday I’m learning more but if they can get that farm back up then they can give some of the young people job. It would also save a lot of money from imported fruit, not to mention the waste of energy to actually bring this fruit from New Zealand. Oh and with fruit they may spend less on all the coke and chocolate that is so easy to get that is destroying their teeth and health. I’ll let you all know as I learn more.
Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page
It seems as though I only just got back from Ethiopia and now here I am down under but at the top of Australia. Not even on the mainland anymore. I’m here on Elcho Island in the Northern Territory. This is some serious bush, not circa 1970’s playboy but more like crocs, snakes, bugs and all kinds of humidity and heat. I’m here with the Parfitt family. Thanks to Matt Parfitt who is the goalie on my hockey team. Matt’s brother Ben and family live here while Ben is a “copper”on Elcho. He is one of only 4 cops on an Island with about 2000 aboriginal inhabitants. There has been a lot of changes up here in the last bunch of years some good and some bad so it’s the job of the cops to make sure things are running smooth and to help maintain this island as a dry one. There are some great artists here Judy, Richard, Mavis to name a few. They have already been kind enough to let me follow them around and show me the ways of their art. The history here is long and the connection to the land is not so different to First Nations people in Canada and Native Americans. I’ve only started to shoot some shots here but I’m very happy with what is happening. There appears to be a lot of poverty here but it turns out money is not the problem at all……..