It was a public holiday in the Northern Territory, Queens Birthday, today so nothing much was happening. Matt had leant the boys a football and a basketball for the week. We headed across the road to the football oval to have a kick and were quickly joined by some local kids. It did not take our boys long to soon discard their shoes. They were rarely seen with shoes on for the rest of our time here. As the kids took us around the town, we gathered more, and dropped off other kids from our group.
The afternoon was spent playing basketball and teaching each other magic tricks. The locals taught our boys disappearing stones and then in return they were amazed with the ability to ‘magically’ put sticks up their nose and out their ears. This is a trick Tom has been teaching them, which they are getting very good at.
In the Yolgnu culture all life (people and natural things) are divided into two moieties: Dhuwa and Yirritja. They have a complex system of moiety (kin relationship) and skin names (family groups). The kinship system of laws is complicated and governs social interactions, especially marriage. ‘Balanda’ (white man) do not naturally have a moiety. During the week Antonio, one of the friends Ben had made adopted him. This meant that Ben, and thus Sam and Patrick are now the same skin as Antonio, which is Balang. This in turn made me Gutjan and Tom Wämut (He may have been Gamarrang but that would have been my second choice of a husband). Simplistically speaking this makes all Gutjan women my sisters, all Balang men the boys’ brothers and all Gamut men are Tom’s brothers. This explained a bit why people seem to have so many mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, etc. There are also a few poison relationships in this system; son and mother in law and brother: sister. These mean that these should have no communication, and really should not been in the same room or place. I know this would make a few people jealous. That is the one minute version, I could give you the fifteen minute version and those who know more could talk about it for weeks.