Mala = Lady in Arranda language, Central Australia.
As I exit Central Australia and make my way back to SE ASIA, I am humbled to acknowledge all the brilliant ladies I have met in this land down under. The first nurse I met from the Trachoma program for the Mutijulu (Muti) Project, Gabby (pictured above), greeted me at the only super market in Yulara, offered to carry my over sized back pack, arranged my accommodation, and proceeded to teach me how to screen for Trachoma and the finer points of being a nurse. If it wasn’t for Gabby’s quick thinking we probably wouldn’t have been able to screen over 90% of our targeted age group through tactics like jumping on the school bus and following kids home, screening and delivering meds out of the back of the car, and visiting class rooms. She was also kind enough to host me while I was in Darwin.
Amy was the second nurse I met for the Papanya Project. Amy also carried my giant pack, took the only pictures I have of children in the communities, let me bunk with her in the medical flat, and taught me a ton about utilizing high lighters to maintain organization when attempting to screen and treat the target age group. AND she took me for a fab night out when we got back from Papanya, including a pony ride, a chicken fillet (the “t” isn’t silent on “fillet” in Oz), multiple white wines, a swag in her front room X 3 nights, and soooooo many laughs. Kim, her roommate, regaled us with stories of being a production manager in Sydney and working on projects like “The Biggest Looser”.
And prior to getting to Alice, the women I visited with in the Adelaide and all the women in the Canberra Uniterian Universalist Church. Clair and here roomies in Melbs, my girls in the Bezzz, Rosey and Sharon. My Oz mom’s Barb Wire and Momma Losik. Now this is just sounding like an academy awards acceptance speech. Just needed to give some gratitude to the many amazing women I have met in the last 7 months.