A Day in Mapuru
by Ramesh Williams (10 years old)
On the fifteenth of July 2007, three families arrived in Mapuru. When we got to the Aboriginal community (of Mapuru) we were really pleased to be there. We got there about 2pm. We first saw Roslyn (one of the ladies of the community) she was weaving. She had curly brown hair and twinkly eyes. She greeted us and told us where we could camp.
All the ladies brought all the great baskets they had made and our mums had fun buying the baskets they liked, while we checked out the community with all the boys who lived there.
Then we set up our camping gear Jed Hoek, my brother Sanjay and I set up our swags in the shelter (a hut sort of thing) where Cathy Freeman and Deborah Mailman slept in the Going Bush DVD! It was cool sleeping in the exact same spot!
Then the aboriginal boys invited us bigger boys to go to the river that they swam in which was quite close to the main part of the community. Us boys didn’t swim but the Aboriginal boys did. We didn’t swim because we didn’t know if we were allowed to. (Later mum said of course we could have had a swim!). I accidentally fell in so I had to quickly hop out (but it cooled me down!).
On the way back, the eldest boy, Lionel, did a back flip on normal ground and landed it! It was fun to see! We tasted some fruit that the aboriginal kids said was edible. It was really small. I don’t remember what it was called but we all really liked it.
When we got back to the campsite, we (us boys) all played football. We played “kick to kick”. I was on a team with some of the local kids. It was really fun playing football there.
While we were doing this our mums and the girls went with the ladies in the community to collect some bulbs and roots and stuff to dye the pandanus leaves with. They also got taught how to split the pandanus leaves and how they weave the dyed leaves into baskets. We saw our mums in the bush near the campsite and went in there. We collected branches to make spears. We also made woomeras. One aboriginal boy made a really good spear for me. It’s so SO good that in fact I’ve still got it!
One kid climbed a bendy tree to nearly the top and it bent down close to the ground while he was holding on with his hands. Then he let go and landed on the ground. It was really cool!
Our dads went with Jackie (Roslyn’s brother who’s also a teacher) and got shown what the school looked like. This is the school that the kids from the community go to. They also got shown the shop and said it was cool. Afterwards all the men sat on the ground near our campsite in a circle and talked about stuff. Jackie got them a didgeridoo which they all played. My dad can play it well, but he missed his own didgeridoo which fell off the roofrack on the Simpson desert on the way over. He was really sad so he asked Jackie if he could get him one made and gave him some money for it. Then Uncle Darryl and Uncle Mike wanted one each too so they gave Jackie money for 3 didgeridoos and clapping sticks. They want Jackie to come visit us in WA and bring all the stuff with him. I hope that happens because it’ll be cool to have Jackie stay with us!
Then dad boiled his billy on the fire that the ladies were boiling the dye and made lots of cups of tea for all the ladies in the community. I sat near the fire and poked it (as usual!) and mum told Roslyn and some of the others that they call me “Match” because I love fire.
Later that evening all the boys and girls who lived there did a performance for us near our campsite. A big boy played the didgeridoo, Jackie had clapping sticks and he and his son sang. They did a couple of quick dances then me, Sanjay, Jed Hoek and Jed Helms joined in! It was really fun to dance with those kids!! Mum told us later that Roslyn had explained the different dances to her about rain, and stuff.
After the dancing us three families sang two Australian songs which were “Waltzing Matilda” and “We are Australian” (Uncle Darryl played the guitar). They liked us singing. Then Brielle played her flute for a little while.
That night me, Jed Hoek and Sanjay had a really good sleep in the hut because we slept in the top storey which was really fun!! When we all woke up, no aboriginal person was awake except for Roslyn. We saw her weaving a basket. It was misty and cold. We packed up and said a sad farewell to Roslyn we gave her a huge hug!! It was pretty sad when we had to leave the fun community that we all liked!
All 15 of us visitors liked it with all the aboriginal kids and adults. But the most favourite of my things was when all the boys helped us to make spears and woomeras. I liked it because my spear is really really good!!
I also really liked watching them dance and when we joined in the dance the beat was cool!
I really loved the whole thing while we were there and we all wished we could have stayed longer. It was soooo COOOOOOL!!
If you ever go there make sure you stay more than one day!!