Rest Day Leonora – Updates from the first 3 weeks

Hello all!
Sorry for the lack of updates, but we haven’t had much service in the middle of the desert.

A lot has happened in the last few weeks, and I have taken some incredible photos, but unfortunately I won’t be able to upload them today. I’m in Leonora, WA at the MEEDAC center where they have generously let me sit on this computer for the last hour or so.

We arrived in Leonora yesterday afternoon with many of the local people meeting up with the walkers, including some old friends (Aunty Gay, Aunty Geraldine and Aunty Laxi).

Unfortunately I wasn’t around for the beautiful welcome party, I spent most of the day working with a few other people editing 2 short video clips to go to Alice Springs in a few days. One is a half hour long, and the audio is a conversation between 3 indigenous men – 2 from Australia, 1 from the states – about why uranium mining is wrong, dangerous, and why it should be stopped.

Another is a 5 minute clip of an Aboriginal man speaking in language in the hopes that it will be spread throughout the Aboriginal communities. There are 7 dialects that are similar enough to his that people will understand.

I’m really excited about these clips, and when they are finished I will absolutely be sending them to the blog.

Today is our third rest day so far, but the first one in a town. From here on out we’re going to be mostly out of the bush and in more populated towns. It’s going to be nice to have stores and people (and potentially bathrooms) but it’s been an incredible experience walking in the desert.

I spent a lot of the time dehydrated or tired, but it’s been really beautiful.

The internet here is a bit tricky, but we’ve had a lot of media attention that I would love to share.. Next time I guess.

Mia Pepper from the Conservation counsel had a 15 minute radio interview with ABC morning news
Scott Ludlum (a Greens Senator who has been an incredible supporter of the walk/joined for the first few days in North Poole) stood up in Parliament and told everyone to join us
Usman a reporter from the Kalgoorlie Miner came and did a huge story about the walk that made the front page
etc, etc, etc…

Also it’s been really funny noticing how many people are in touch with the walk somewhat accidentally.

A few days ago Kado let me listen to his 2 way walkie talkies all day. Most of the days walking through the bush the only people who pass us are truckies – road trucks and smaller. Carrying mining products and many other things out of the desert. Much of the time we were the only through road, so they all saw us.

I listened to the truckies and most of them were talking about the walk. It was kind of hilarious. They were surprised and outraged and confused, but they were definitely aware of us.

So.. it’s been good so far. It’s absolutely been a huge change for me, and our daily life is pretty challenging. But it’s worth it already when we get people like Glen who have felt so supported by the walk that they stand up and refuse to be silenced.

Glen is in his 50s and a diabetic. He lives in Wiluna, a town where Toro energy is proposing to put in a new mine.
He met up with us the first day and walked the entire 25 kilometers. He said, “This is a historic day for me. A man of my health back home doesn’t even walk to his neighbors house. He drives everywhere. I’ve seen protests, but I’ve never done anything like this before in my life.”

He’s driven back home to take care of business and back to the walk like 3 times, once bringing his daughters, once his son, and once his wife. He spoke out last Monday when they were doing a Heritage Survey to see if they could fence off just a tiny piece of land (containing a songline) to use.

That area is sacred, and it’s a disgrace that the company is even trying.

But Glen spoke up at that meeting — in language, so the English speaking company members and lawyers couldn’t understand, and reminded the people about Yelieerie mine that was stopped 40 years ago. And talked about the dangers of radiation, which the mining companies somehow always seem to leave out.

His words were so powerful that no decision was made, and the company has to come back again for another meeting.

We’ve had another Aboriginal man named Kado walking with us. He leaves us today, and it’s sad to think of the walk without he and his kids. His wife Deeva is staying to do filming and photography for the documentary she’s making about the walk.

Kado has been telling us stories all along the walk. About country and the past and how to live in the desert. He’s showed us plants that are edible and how to cook them, and been an incredible source of calm on the walk (for me at least) when tensions have risen.

It will be sad to see him go.. but I know he’ll come again.

So. I am actually incredibly hungry, and going to go try and find myself some food.
Also, this afternoon we might all go to Aunty Gay’s daughter’s house and feed the baby joeys, something I am incredibly excited for.

I hope this gets sent out, and I hope to post more of my own entries and pictures soon.
g’day you buncha bogans –scott ludlum speaking at Parliament about the walk — The West Australian

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