This has been a good week. I’ve just returned from Alice Springs where I attended the first ever ‘International Indigenous viral hepatitis conference’. One of my colleagues and fellow travellers suggested we fly into ULURU a couple of days earlier to explore the magnificence that is one of the most ancient traditional spiritual havens for our Aboriginal brothers; ULURU OR BUST LADIES.
WOW! If I die tomorrow I’ll die feeling God granted me a tiny glimpse of a beautiful, burnt, raw and sacred secret before I close my eyes for the last time. A secret of healing which permeates a welcoming pulse, unlike any I’ve felt before. The gentle breeze feels and sounds like she is weeping quietly, resigning herself to pirouetting with the other elements, the Aboriginal people and the essence of the terrain to portray the spirit that purrs at the very core of her being. I swear if you close your eyes at any place close to the ROCK you can hear her carry the whisper of a didgeridoo across the desert; connecting to all other natural, bewildered, wilting, yet serene life. I was so moved I dared not speak. My travelling companions were pleased albeit surprised by this unexpected effect on me and giggled they would accompany me here anytime. I didn’t laugh with them this time, I didn’t call them ‘funny c**ts as per our usual communications; I’m sure the Great Spirit understood how hard this was for me and was grateful I contained myself. That night we shared a closet at the back packers and watched a band. We were fairly subdued as we had witnessed the biggest ROCK on earth cry tears of blood at sunset.
As things turned out we three were so in touch with the wonder of the great spirit of ULURU none of us noticed time. This felt incredibly liberating, until we missed our flight to Alice Springs by 10 mins on Sunday morning. “Don’t worry ladies” I assured them “this is the outback, the laid back, the let’s go back, of our great country, surely they will let us on the plane as it still sits on the tarmac”. They didn’t.
Sunday just before lunch we had the pleasure of an unexpected adventure thrust on us. This was a 6 and a half hour road trip to Alice Springs. Our transcending trio headed into the unknown in a corolla; a little broker than we were when we arrived due to the absence of any diligence. We had no phone reception but settled for pumping well-worn tunes and singing along with extremely well-worn voices. What we lacked in talent we made up for in enthusiasm and volume. We made several music hits that would surely have brought us some funds if I hadn’t accidently had my hand over the microphone most of the time.
We tumble weeded into Alice on Sunday night. We had missed the conference’s opening dinner so ate as much chocolate as we could to compensate. As usual chocolate didn’t let us down.
The first day of the conference was mind blowing. Health and human rights advocates from around the globe (some with translator in tow) told stories of desperation at the lack of funds, drugs and resources to cope with the insidious grass fire that is hepatitis. They spoke too of their hope that all who bleed would join together to create a pool of life-forces to overcome the transmission of this virus and minimise its devastating effects and effects on mankind. There were
speakers from Alaska, Greenland, Taiwan, Peru and Brazil. One speaker lived nine days travel (by canoe) from his nearest village. Another (who was truly beautiful and wore with pride many tribal tattoos) apologised through her interpreter for wearing the same clothes she had arrived in the day before, explaining her luggage had been lost. She giggled as we empathised with her. It struck me how little this (what would be a catastrophe to a westerner) affected her quest of connecting to other indigenous cultures, with the common purpose of establishing better wellbeing for earths indigenous communities. As usual I perceived five constant threads that weaved together to build all the insurmountable obstacles that stood across the path of common sense and faith. Stigma, discrimination, bigotry, racism, and ignorance.
Luckily for you (who are kind enough to be reading this missive) the editor asked me to write an article for this issue and not a book so I won’t jump onto that particular soapbox today. I am also more determined to focus on the hope that is the vision held by our indigenous family rather than the desperation that is so often their reality.
The second day we visited an aboriginal woman’s health service. I smiled to myself at the sign out the front “NO MEN ALLOWED, no smoking, just think about it NO ENTRY TO MEN” I swear that’s exactly what it said. The peace, love and acceptance here was tangible.
I received a healing from a grandmother who is a witch doctor. As she rubbed my back with bush medicine and chanted under her breath she asked “should I sing you a man?” I replied “NO…… no but I would be very grateful if you could sing me one away”. So far I think it’s working. Fingers crossed.
When people can’t understand each other’s tongues they listen to the vibes more, they touch noses and look deeper into each other’s eyes so they can see each other’s thoughts. It’s as if each individual’s aura must be read like braille. I believe this is a much more genuine form of communication and understanding. The mind and mouth hide much, the eyes hide less and the heart can hide very little but the soul at her core hides nothing.
Much inclusiveness, many goose bumps and more than a few unexplained tears of oneness were mine; to bring home and treasure forever. On our last day we heard on the news that the Australian government cut off water to one of the outlying Indigenous communities because ‘they didn’t want them living on crown land’. The absurdity of this needs no further explanation.
The lessons I learnt this journey, the ones that can be put into words are as follows;
Every Australian would be doing themselves a favour by visiting ULURU
The fight against Hepatitis is becoming a ‘war’. For every two people sitting in the bliss of their ignorance, one will choose the uncomfortable path of integrity and equality. But that one has the strength of three.
Hope is never far away from humanity, we simply have to reach out and welcome it.
Touching is more meaningful than talking and so are smiles and tears
The Great Spirit of the desert has no respect for phone reception
Aborigines forgive us much but because they’re Aborigines we forgive them nothing
Silence speaks volumes; we would advance further if our tongues were tied.
Some things aren’t what they seem while other things are much more than is seemly possible.
Hepatitis should be running scared from the warriors and their strategies now seeking to destroy it.
All of us matter but not all of us know it.
And one last piece of advice -If you are catching a plane from ULURU airport any time soon leave now or you will surely miss your flight.