I returned to Bililuna on Monday, which is the second day of my weekend, and then took a quick trip to Mulan with the CEO of the Shire who was taking the Shire President around the Communities. They had just finished their Bililuna meeting when I arrived. As I had a package to deliver to Tika in Mulan, I drove with the bosses down the back road. I love that trip.
On my return to my donga I read my emails and realised I had a First Aid course in Halls Creek over the following two days. The email reminded me that I was to arrive promptly at 0750. As I need my First Aid to be updated in order to work with children, I could not postpone.
Rather than leaving at 0430 next morning (allowing time for a puncture or other road emergency) I decided to drive back that night and sleep at my old house, which I have not yet quit because I have not finished packing up. I put the dog, some water, my bag and my CPAP into the troopy and set off. It was a beautiful night to drive, and the road is in really good condition at present. However, I have never seen so many skippies on the Tanami. I must have passed well over 300 ‘roos and wallabies. They were everywhere. By driving slowly and staying alert I managed to avoid over 99% of them. Three went under the troopy. I did not stop to pick them up. I should have. Someone would have appreciated them, if only for dog tucker. They did add an extra half hour onto the drive, though.
The first aid course was a breeze except the CPR, which my knees did not enjoy. I got through it only by pretending that it was a real dying person, not a dummy, on whom I was practicing. Nevertheless, in a real situation over a prolonged time, I may have to consider using the heel of my foot rather than my hands. Apparently it can be done.
A really nice thing happened in the lunch break on the second day. A woman attending some other class at the TAFE approached me to say that I was very popular here in Bililuna, and doing a good job. The Community love me, she said. Those words. She had relatives here, and had heard good things. This was most encouraging considering I have not really done much yet.
On my return today I was greeted first by Sally the goat, who seemed pleased to see me (attempting to climb into the troopy to say hello – much to the pup’s annoyance) then by a neighbour who told me that everyone was worried I had given up on the job and left. It made me realise I should tell someone if I am going to be away on days other than weekends. This is a small community.
Shortly after, a deputation of youngsters came by seeking reassurance that I was indeed staying. Then a few adult community members also visited and told me of what had been happening while I was gone. I feel quite privileged to be so accepted so quickly.
Emu dropped by, seeking and receiving a handful or two of dry dog food. She put her scary strong beak to my nose and looked me straight in the eye as if to say “More!”. She ate the few remaining scraps of dog food on the ground and wandered off. Then she came back, on the off-chance I might fetch more. So I did.