Interesting times

My first experience of the ‘intervention’ was pretty positive. The team worked well together and all had remote experience (and experience with communicating with Aboriginal people). They were friendly people on top of it

This bunch are, shall we say, different. My first real experience of them was negotiating sharing a key. There were problems about having access to the rooms during the day because “we might need to come back for a hankie. I’ve got a dozen starched and pressed white ones.” Hmm, I thought, anyone with that sort of hanky obsession isn’t going to do well where the bathroom is full of frog excrement. Bilin. Frog shit is indeed a problem. (I’ve met both the frogs that cause it now. One is a green frog that lives in the sink and shower and the other is a brown frog that lives in the guesthouse in general – we met when it jumped on my foot while I was working…)

It turned out that a bigger problem was me. This team decided they didn’t want me around, so the doctor rang up someone high up the food chain in Canberra, who rang the guesthouse oeprators and made them revoke my accommodation. Bear in mind this is a public guesthouse, and now the permit system has been abolished anyone can stay here (and someone invited by the community, complete with permit, has just as much right to be there as anyone). First I heard about it was as I was heading off to my afternoon field session.

The reason they gave was that they might forget I’m here and discuss their patients, and that would be a breach of confidentiality. That’s rubbish, since that night they hadn’t seen any patients (and rumour has spread in the community about how they pulled rank, so people aren’t taking their kids to them even though they’ve been here a few days now!) and I don’t think I should lose my accommodation because they doubt their own profesisonalism.

(I am back in the guesthouse in another room now and we are uneasily coexisting.)

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