WALKING FOR A BETTER WORLD
Flys, mozzies, and decision time. - 01/07/04
Edward, Ruth, Avon and getting back on the road again.
Where Was I?
We arrived in Adelaide yesterday and I will update you in 2 parts here, so here is part 1.
On 12-24 Marcus bought a new (old, used) van, same as his old one so he could use parts.
On Christmas Day (my 50th by the way) we left Pt. Augusta. The desert was just a memory now, as we were now walking past golden fields of grain. The temperature had moderated and the sky has often been laden with dark clouds that have dampened our way to Adelaide but not our spirits, actually it has been a pleasant change. The bothersome fly, came and went depending on where we are.
On the 27th we camped by the ocean in Port Germein. Gerti and I chose a piece of ocean front property, looking out over the water which was a long way off because it was low tide during the day light. The breeze cooled our tent and everything seemed peaceful. As the sun went down the tranquility was broken when millions of mozzies (mosquitos) invaded. We had already been snug in our tent, so we only heard the buzz of the attack and the screams of our fellow walkers that weren't so lucky.
On 12-31 we stayed in Locheil at the football field, which served communities in the surrounding area because there is not much going on in Locheil. The next day was supposed to be a restday, a time to just relax but it wasn't so. The evening we arrived Gerti was having a cup of water in the evening, the cup was half empty when she noticed it contained a lot more than just water. The water was full of live mosquito larve or as one of the Japanese said later, "children of mosquitos". Gerti of course felt a little queasy but what bothered us most was the reaction or lack of reaction of our fellow Aussie walkers. When I told the group about the water and said I was going to dump the jug, I was not prepared for their reply. It was something like: "Don't dump it, we'll drink it, it's safer and better than treated water". The water came from a storage tank, which is rain water that is collected from the roof of many Aussie homes. We went to bed and discussed our feelings and what we would do if this was going to remain our water situation. We both decided we would leave if our water needs could not be met, it was not worth the health risk in our eyes, especially when both water supplies existed where we were. The next day we talked to the Japanese that had not understood our concern the night before because of the translation problems, I already told you their reaction. After talking to Marcus and others in the group we hope our needs will be met, although they really saw no problem with the tank water but with treated water.
On the evening of the 1st the Marlinga whistleblower visited us and told us about the nuclear bomb test and the radioactive fallout that affected and continues to effect Australia and the people living here.
We walked into Port Wakefield on 1-2 and stayed at the golf club, what was really strange was each hole was not a nice green but a black stony surface. This town is bigger than Locheil but was mainly a spot to draw tourists for a meal on their way to other tourist spots. Several gas stations and small eating places was about it.
After walking on the 3rd we were shuttled back to the golf club for another night. That night the mozzies water issue resurfaced when we were refilling the water bottles for the next day. They were being filled with tank water, which 'appeared' clean, probably because of a screen or filter. I asked the person filling the bottles to mark the bottles she filled with tank water clearly because it was still not acceptable water to us. Again the Japanese did not know but once I told them, one of the women asked other not to drink "the children of mosquitos" and again again others said they would rather drink the tank water than the treated water.
On the 4th we moved camp to the Helps Road Institue where it remained until we entered Adelaide on 1-7. So everyday we walked between 15- 30K and then got shuttled to camp. The institute is privately owned by a nice couple and they bring activist material and hope to hold activist events. We actually got to pitch our tent on real green grass.
Walks present many challenges. Those that participate are brought together around a common purpose, in this case nuclear issues. But as individuals, we represent different cultures, backgrounds and ways of looking at things- in many ways we are a mircocosm of the world we are trying to reach out to. So because of that we have to deal with egos, different points of view and inner/outer feelings. So rather than to just gloss over what happens on a walk, I want to give you a bigger, truer picture while still reminding you our focus is what allows us to work through those day to day issues. On 1-4 one of the walkers called a meeting to deal with some of those issues. I would love to say all the issues were resolved and everything is fine but that would not be real life or reality. The issues deal with gossip, food, decision making, finances and I am sure other things. After the meeting I think some people felt better, others surprised or shocked because they had been unaware, either because they had not personally heard the undertones or because of translation difficulties were unaware. Gerti and I have been trying to stay out of it and are busy planning our future after the walk, which will present many challenges in itself. By the way we now consist of several Japanese, one Frenchman, one woman from Scotland, two from the U.S. (inc. myself) and Gerti from Austria. One think that adds to the difficulties or group dynamics, is the large changeover of people, once we leave Adelaide for example 11 people will be leaving and we are expecting 7 new people.
On the 7th, on the way into Adelaide we stopped by the home of some aboriginals that gave us coffee, tea and scones (a pastry). Then we arrived in downtown, about 2 hours later than planned. Channel 9 met us and filmed a piece for the news. Ruth, a humanshield that had gone to Iraq, also met us in the city centre. Ruth is on her way to a large conference (72,000 people) in India, where they will be discussing alternatives to the present policies and directions of the world's governments. At night we went to another aboriginal's home for a feast, which was great because after a 25K day we had only fruit and mountain bread while walking, and no lunch besides potato chips and more mountain bread.
Well that catches you all up for now and my time is running out.
I hope all of you are fine and thank you to those of you keeping in contact by email. By the way Gerti and I are fine.
Love and peace, Jeff