Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Tanami Desert Diary - PART 5

(Return to - PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, PART 4)

A Cessna brought the ‘Word of God’ to the Tanami one fateful day. An evangelist in the form of a naive, young Geologist, fresh out of Uni, barely out of his teens.

We’re a friendly mob out here. We even make Geologists welcome, but we’re quite unaware of his less forgivable proclivities at this time.

Camping in the desert is a rough and ready affair that is fluid and set with certain discomforts. It’s the first time our new Geo has camped out, and it becomes obvious he’s never done much for himself before. He expects an array of amenities that aren’t forthcoming. City ways in a feral wasteland don't mix too well, and he finds the lack of power points in the surrounding trees disturbing.

Immediately, his cover story of being ‘one of the lads’, goes awry. Someone normal complains they’ve forgotten to pack something. He jumps in to commiserate with his own clanger.

‘Mum packed his bag so he’s not sure he’s got any pyjamas.’

Even at school camp that would be a violation of etiquette. Out here in the desert, it classifies as information NOT to share. A group of young lads who pride themselves on adaptability and independence don't take kindly to Mama’s Boys. Finding out he’s a God-bothering religious nut was anti-climactic.

His sentence is handed down. ‘Not to be included in rule breaking activities.’

To fuel our distain, he’d unashamedly and openly fill in some sort of bible-study worksheet after we’d knocked off for the day. We’d sit around the fire drinking beer and smoking dope. He’d try to convince us to change our evil ways with short lived sermons, then storm off up a sand dune to ‘pray for us’. We heathens found the concept vaguely threatening.

He’s a nice enough lad to get along with, even if he’d been brainwashed at an early age to fear both God and Devil in their multitude of forms. While his parents were beating Jesus into him, they should have taught him a few domestic skills as well.

I had to check on him after he requested a side trip to a remote area. Perhaps he was trying to follow Jesus’ forty day diet. More likely he wanted to get away from our influence. What I found after two days showed he wasn’t being very strict with the fasting.

None of us ‘normals’ were big on cleanliness, but we all knew how food poisoning occurs, and how to keep ants, wasps and larger carnivores out of the camp by cleaning up. He had no awareness of how disgusting the site was. It was like walking into the aftermath of a five year olds birthday party. Half eaten rotting food and canned drinks lay everywhere. Rubbish piled on benches, dirty pots still in the fireplace. He’d put a plate down, forget about it and get another.

I cleaned it up. What really burns my arse is that he would have thanked divine intervention for providing the service.

(Like it? See – PART 6) Coming Soon

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