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Pukatja Life

Community living is simple. I found my time in The Lands to be the most grounding time of my life; landscape absorbs worry, silence deafens the voice in your head and the sense of community is strong - you're never alone! Walking around Pukatja, people give you a friendly nod or a cheerful "Palya", and there are lots of dogs - which is awesome because who doesn't love the constant presence of papas (dogs)? Wild horses make an appearance on North side, sometimes walking down the road in search for water and food scraps, donkeys will let themselves in and wait in the kitchen for food, and cows will stand in the middle of the road staring you down- beeping doesn't scare them all!

Pitjantjatjara is one of the most beautiful languages I've heard and learning how to speak it has helped form an appreciation for grammatical, pronunciation and word definition differences. There are words for sounds, such as the sound of wind in the leaves - walpa. I have been so lucky to go on bush trips, to be shown Country and Dreaming sites, and to have watched sunsets that throw intense red, pink and purple into the sky. Watching the mountains change colour as the sun makes its journey from one mountain to the other, misty hazes after sun-down bring on an atmosphere which can only be experienced.

One of my favourite things has been making friends with Anangu, along with the strong sense of connectivity which comes from this - children waving frantically from cars or little ones running across the shop to give you a hug. These experiences fill your happy cup! After school, children migrate to the shop, stopping in at the Road House before coming into the Skylight for activities. We paint, make masks, have dance-offs, make fruit salad, play softball and create our own body products! A lot happens in the office since families come in with their tjitji (children) and iti (babies), from water play, playing bongo drums to facilitating nap time- Skylight is a well-loved part of the community.

School holiday programs run for children to come and hang out at the office- the boys enjoy break dancing and making masks before a cruise to the shop to get the ingredients for fruit salad and sandwiches. It was awesome to see all the boys wanting to be involved in cooking. Everyone had something to cut up and others enjoyed being in charge of melting the cheese on the ham sandwiches. The girls loved making pizzas and creating Christmas cards for their families, together, the children made their own gingerbread men and worked as a team to decorate their baking.

Being welcomed into community and experiencing life on The Lands has truly been a giant learning opportunity, one I am grateful for and will always carry with me. Working within a team of vibrant people I have grown professionally, found new interests and been able to explore and live with one of the oldest surviving cultures. If you get the opportunity to live within a community- DO IT!

- Lauren



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Together - National Reconciliation Week

The title of my piece is 'Together', this means walking, talking and doing together for a bright hopeful future. Since childhood I have heard of stories from the indigenous communities' and they say that the earth is their mother and they are the custodians of her. 

I wanted to show that I feel the same way.

Together we can walk the path of colours in our beautiful land, from the amazing colours in the sky, flora, land and the beautiful turquoise colour of our seas and ocean. Cherishing the native species of plant life that is left as 90% of the Noarlunga area has been wiped out. The diversity of our country from the scrublands and forests to our magnificent red river gums not to mention our incredible wildlife that is so unique.

There is nowhere in the world like this land.

The two hands coming together are indigenous and non-indigenous peoples both with knowledge and a readiness to work together in projects and group discussions to care for and protect everyone and everything that is this land. Under the night sky, the southern cross is of great significance, when it is low in the sky it indicates that the emu is sitting on his eggs, eggs are is a symbol of new life, fertility and hope it is also a time for foraging. The emu and kangaroo are on the coat of arms and can only move in a forward direction, my hope and dreams are for all of us to move forward together.

Artwork and words by Toni Dallow, 2020
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Strategies for Maintaining Mental Health During Isolation

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It is well known that boredom can contribute to feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness. Our COVID-19 Peer Support Line staff have come up with 5 strategies that may help you to cope should you need to isolate. 

Maintain a Routine
As much as possible, maintain a routine each day. Shower when you usually would, and eat when you usually would. Most importantly, get dressed out of your pyjamas every day! If you get into proper clothes, you feel like you're day has started and that you have important things to do, and you do have important things to do.

Achieve Something Everyday
No matter what the task, set yourself something to achieve every day. It might be doing the dishes, cleaning out a cupboard, or calling a friend. A sense of achievement helps us to feel like we are doing something meaningful. Keep doing meaningful activities every day and it won't feel like a waste of time!

Write About Your Experience
Writing about what has been going on, can help us to feel like we are talking to someone and sharing our experiences with someone. You might write a daily journal of how you're feeling or what tasks you did, or you might even post an online blog telling the world about how you're going! You might even find other journals or blogs to read of people going through the same thing. When we find others having a similar experience, it helps us feel less alone.

Keep Connected Socially
This one is especially important if you are at home on your own. Organise Skype calls with friends and family, find a Facebook group to follow that lifts your spirits, create a Whatsapp or messenger group to check on each other or participate in an online forum or discussion board. The more ways that you can communicate the better! Play knocking games on the wall with your neighbours! Get creative.

Reach Out For Support
Ultimately, it's going to be a difficult time for anyone and it's important to reach out for support if you need it. If you're feeling suicidal and really not coping, call Mental Health Triage or Emergency. If you're feeling safe but you are in distress and need to talk things through, call LETSS and chat with our peer workers. Let's all band together and get through this!!!

Photo by Bohdan Maylove on Unsplash

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Phone: (08) 8378 4100
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of South Australia and celebrates all people who call this land home
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