“You’ve got to have some emotional buoyancy otherwise this place will sink you.” That’s what one of our old board members said as he stood out the front of the shelter with his neighbours’ dog in the back of his car. The dog had swallowed a cooked bone and was shitting blood.
“Yeah, well we all have our moments,” I said, thinking…
We play music in the clinic, make jokes about members and clients we don’t like, cook and eat a lot of food, fill cups with powdered milk and sugar and add a little tea, take naps and cigarette breaks on the mortuary (a deep freezer), play cards, drink grog, scream with laughter at nothing at all (or at the Rotumans for their ancestors’ thinking they could plant sweet biscuits and harvest a crop), drink beer when no one turns up to our kati beer raffle night, pull $2 notes out of the donation tin slots with tweezers so we don’t have to cut them open before they’re full, drink homebrew (fermented coconut/paw paw or vegemite and tomato), pool our coins to eat deep fried cassava out of oil drenched paper bags, and sit on rubbish bins and broken chairs and yarn.
And yeah, we do alright.