Thursday, July 03, 2014


As always there have been too many things to write about and I haven't had the time, access to my computer, or the inclination to write about it. The past month has been full of trauma, sadness and struggle.

At the beginning of June while most of us were enjoying the first cool days of the dry season, our community was struck by a terrible tragedy. Our friend Jenny and her two children Lenny and Tighe were found dead on the grounds of the property where they lived. I don't know what we do with the grief from such a thing. There have been vigils and memorials and people have cried and lit candles, we've thrown flowers into the river and visited their favorite places but nothing makes right what has happened. Now one month has passed and many things have happened in that short time but our grief for this family will take a long time to pass.  I am sure most of us have unresolved feelings about the circumstances of their deaths. I have had immense feelings of compassion and care for all my friends who are alone and struggling, especially to care for their children. How do we care for each other and be there for each other when we are needed? 

A vigil was held at the mouth of Rapid Creek, many people came. It was a powerful and emotional time, and there was a huge sense of togetherness combined with bewilderment... how could this have happened?

The next morning before dawn I went and sat on the sand on the river bank where the candles were still burning. I thanked God for the dawn and cried for Jenny and her innocent beautiful children.

Candles at Rapid Creek the morning after vigil

Looking back at the footbridge, morning after the vigil

Carnage on the road:
One week later, while sitting in my office which happens to face the Stuart Highway I heard a terrible heavy crunch which sent vibrations up through my seat! I looked at the other workers and thought it may have been a heavy truck hitting a pothole. It wasn't. We looked out the window to see smoke and dust rising from the corner and the remains of a vehicle turned on its roof on the other side of the road. Two of us ran out of the building and across the road to find a 3 car pile up. Two cars were overturned and crushed, another sitting smashed up in the middle of a traffic island. Fuel was leaking out of one of the vehicles and the driver was turning the key trying to start the engine! It was an horrific scene. Others had already arrived and were assisting people out of the vehicles. We assisted where we could but thankfully professionals were on the scene. Three people were injured two seriously, but there was still a body in one of the cars, I sensed something terrible there and actually couldn't bring myself to look, it turned out that one man had died in the crash. When we were sure there was nothing more we could do to help we went back to the office, shaken by the scene. Out of respect for the people involved and their families I took no photos. But one week later I marveled at the irony of the Super car parade passing through that same intersection with support trucks displaying alcohol promotional logos!

The V8 Super cars are in town.

Refugee Day:
The 14th June was World Refugee Day. Every year here in Darwin we hold a kind of carnival on Refugee Day where people who have come to Australia as refugees show their appreciation for the opportunities they have been given, share their food and culture with us and all the refugee and asylum seeker support agencies and community groups set up stalls and share information. It seems weird to say we are celebrating Refugee Day... after all what is there to celebrate about people being displaced from their homelands? However there is a real festive feeling in the air at refugee day. It is a celebration of life, opportunities and what people can do if given a second chance! This year we were at the Soccer field in Marrarra, so on top of the music and dance there were soccer games all day.

(On the way there I took a wrong turn and ended up outside a football ground where I was summarily abused for being a "bicycle freak!" Oh what a world we live in) 

Amid all this celebration of life is the overlying fact that the Australian Government is now taking deliberate action to prevent refugees from entering Australia. Our asylum seeker policies breach international treaties and Government agencies routinely commit human rights abuses. This week the Minister for Immigration was responsible for the Australian Navy delivering a boatload of Tamil Asylum seekers back into the hands of the Srilankan regime who they were fleeing. Refugee Day was a chance to just spend time with people who have at least had the opportunity for a second chance in our country and for those who fight for the rights of asylum seekers, to put the struggle aside for one day and just enjoy the company of our friends.

Kites fly free at Word Refugee Day

Many low moments in my work this past week. We've just had our AGM (where I work it is called Synod). I raised an issue which started a fire and pretty much consumed the whole 4 day meeting... that's a story for another time.
On Monday night we had a big celebration for the Graduation of Theology students. Two of my yapas received their certificates in theology. Congratulations to all!

2014 Certificate 3 Theology Graduants

At the end of a week long marathon of work, 15 hour or more per day, on Tuesday I took a morning off picked up a mate and we went for a canoe trip in the harbor. Not far just out across to a beach near East Point where we could sit and watch the sun rise. It was the coldest morning so far 16 degrees, there was a bit of wind around but the water was flat enough not to sink us. We paddled among the mangroves for a while, saw a sea eagle and collected a bit of rubbish off the beach before heading back. Nothing much that has happened this month makes much sense to me but paddling on the water some how relegates it all to just 'other stuff'. This is real. ;)

Trev steps ashore
(Written from my computer at home... I've got a shocking cold and keep falling asleep. Think I have exhaustion or something....)


Chandra said...

I am so terribly sorry about the loss of your friend Jenny and her two children.

The other 'downer' event seem like difficult ones as well

I am glad you are hanging in there.

Hang in there. This too shall pass.

Peace :)

David J said...

Thanks Chandra.
Well sometimes life dishes up some woozies! It's sad to see the lives of children lost.
As far as the rest goes. Love em all and let God sort it out.