Well my mister and I have arrived in the Red Centre... We were flown in a tiny 4 seater mail plane, crammed in like sardines in and amongst the mail and parcels. The poor little plane was so laden down its tail was below the dashboard and the pilot had to strain to see out his front window. It was also bumpy and poor Rob vomited copious amounts for the entire trip. Not pleasant. Still we are here. An amusing comment made by a local man made us laugh though. On hearing the story of the power chuck, he said 'Oh what a waste of your lunch. Did your wife cook you another one?'
We're working for at least the next three months in a bush town called Lajamanu, a primarily Aboriginal settlement, at the health centre here. The clinic aims to improve health outcomes of the Lajamanu community through primary health care programs and also runs an emergency service linked with Katherine and Darwin hospitals. Its busy too, here we are emergency nurses, paramedics, midwives, child health nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, air traffic controllers, receptionists, cleaners and everything in between. As Remote Area Nurses we can prescribe medicines according to certain protocols, suture and plaster and do a whole stack of stuff we can't do in Tasmania. So naturally we are quietly freaking out. But give us a couple of weeks and I'm sure we will feel more settled.
Its remote... we're 600km southwest of Katherine, on the edge of the Tanami Desert and there isn't much here. There's a local store/mini supermarket that is where we are getting our food from, but it is super expensive. A sweet potato costs $7! But to their credit, they don't stock much junk food, couldn't find chocolate or chips there, its mostly healthy options. So that's a good thing... We won't be eating any crap. Word around the campfire is that we can set up an account with Woolies in Katherine and they will do a weekly freight delivery here so that may be an option, but then we need to weigh up the cost of the freight. Our accommodation is provided, simple but adequate, an old brick unit, full of asbestos (but then so is the clinic!) and is furnished, and we aren't paying for anything so no complaints there. There is red dirt everywhere and it gets over everything. The temperature at the moment is around 35-45 degrees, and the wet season is coming. Last night a huge storm knocked over a tree which landed on the unit next door, but luckily no-one was staying there. We're not quite sure who will be able to get that fixed as the council is based in Alice Springs. Not exactly around the corner. And we're also hoping that the remaining trees stay upright!
So we have the weekend off, but we'll be on the on-call roster soon enough. And I think the on-call person works pretty much every night so it will be busy. Stay tuned for our next report!