Back in Darwin

I’m at Darwin airport waiting for my flight to Sydney (and Canberra).

The last few days have been incredibly busy. We did finish proofing the dictionary. My hand-luggage is causing worry (currently next to me with my foot through the strap – if they take it they take my foot too, after all I have another foot but I dn’t have another copy of the proofread dictionary).

On Tuesday we did a huge session and did about half the dictionary. That lasted all morning and well past lunch time, then we decided there was enough time on Wed to do the remaining pages and we went to get bäwaŋ – bush potato – and pandanus. That was fun, we did that, it was a nice way to finish off a long day, in the shade drinking billy tea and eating bush potato. It tastes like string soaked in Clag (that paste (glue) you have in primary school that the boys up the back of the class used to eat). String soaked in clag (or its Milingimbi equivalent) tastes surprisingly good.

In the evening I went back after dinner to bush camp, S said she’d organised the boys to have a bit of a get together and they’d got a present for me. A came too to say goodbye. They gave me three fantastic presents – a pandanus mat, a carving and a bark painting of some of the main clan dreamings.

On Wednesday I did all the remaining cleaning, packing up, etc, and went down to bush camp to do the last of the dictionary corrections and to organise someone to help me carry down the food and things I was leaving with the ladies. Y had had to go to Gove as an escort for a sick relative. We did the dictionary proofing (wanhaba! dhäpirrk!) and started the run around for a car to get me to the airport. Lift-getting in Milingimbi (probably in any community) is an intricate process and involves family ties, who has petrol, and various other considerations.

In Darwin I caught up with Bentley (who’s doing his PhD on Yan-nhangu marine resource management).

I guess this is pretty much the end of this frequent blogging. To be fair to the whole fieldwork experience I should probably chronicle the whole reverse culture shock and data dealing with, but I suspect I’ll be too busy dealing with it!

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