Did you know that there is a fashion in push-bikes? I didn’t! You’re ‘in’ if your pushy has big handles that makes it look like you are riding a bike made up of leftover bikes, and you’re not cool if you have a road bike. I didn’t realise I have been cool for half my life, before I transmogrified to un-cool. Today was a pupil –free day so there were kids on bikes all over town. No hope of getting on a computer at the library. A little gang of younger teenage girls (on cool bikes) were trying to smart-mouth me, and I laughed, cos even though I look like a pakeha, I’ve had a lifetime experience with indigenous kids, and over 20 years of Maori kids trying to be smart-alecs. So smart-mouthed them back, and then they followed us for a while, happy to hang around us, cos we were so obviously cool (even in our bike-less state).
I spent this morning with the local health providers. I am not sure I have got the model straight in my head. I think that this is a community-run medical service, under the umbrella of the area health service. I think it is similar to our AMSs – I think. The manager is a local (‘born and bred in Murupara’), and she was the coolest. She has been the manager for 10 years, and she still is passionate about her team and the work they do. She is inspiring. I gave her my CV and asked her to use me in whatever way she thought she could while I was here. She wants me to run a training program with the new community board members. I am happy to do that, as I have done that with my own mob and our AMS. She told me the most pressing issues in the town are gangs, drugs and alcohol, unemployment and ill health.
We are going to Waikato Uni and the Temple tomorrow, just to check in. I also got feedback from my supervisor at UC, so I will be working up a sweat (and keeping the kuia –old ladies- happy).
Oh, I have to tell you about Te Whaiti- it is about 20ks up the road. It is the beginning of Te Urewera rainforest, and the entrance to Tuhoeland. It is magnificent country, and as soon as I figure out how to get photos up on this site, I’ll show you! Rainforest and bellbirds – awesome!
Papa is reading this – and he is insisting I tell you about the mussels in the shop here. Mussels are brought in live and put in a tank, and then you choose which ones you want and buy them. The tank was full, but tomorrow is penny-hunna (pension) day. So, you buy them, and you can eat them raw by opening and eating them. Papa likes them half cooked, or half raw (funny, isn’t he), so you run boiling water over them, open them and then eat them. Or eat them with onions. Or on sandwiches. To me, they look like giant snot- if Mt Ruapehu sneezed – it would look like mussels, but Husband loves them, so I endure. The time has come, the walrus said...