The Ngaanyatjarra Carer

For over 20 years Linda has worked as an Aged & Disability Worker in the remote deserts of WA. Linda has also been a carer for her husband and daughter Janine, born with a disability.  Read more to find out about Linda’s story, her 2 week walk to school and the 3 things she describes as important for people working with Anangu in remote communities to know.

I grew up in Warakurna with my family. When I was a bit older we moved to Warburton so we could go school and get an education. At the time Warakurna didn’t really have a school. It took us two weeks walking to Warburton from Warakurna  – we hunted and slept along the way. When I had finished my schooling, my family and I moved back to Warakurna.

Back in Warakurna, I met my husband and helped grow up my sister’s children. Later my husband and I moved to Wingellina and I grew up my daughter, Janine.

In Wingellina I worked as a health worker with Nyaanyatjarra Health Service for nearly 20 years. We travelled and worked with other communities nearby: Blackstone, Jameson, Warakurna. After that I worked in the store.

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One day I went to a NPY Women’s Council meeting near Kalka. I had not heard of NPY Women’s Council. I was listening to what they were saying. A friend of mine had started to work for NPYWC and a lady, JC asked me “Do you want to work for Women’s Council?”  and I said “yes”.

One of the NPYWC Director’s, Nancy Young told me “That’s good you working for Women’s Council.”

It’s now today 2021 and I am still doing that work!

In my work I take old people and people with disabilities for bush dinners, I help clean their room – mopping and all that, I help them with their accessibility needs and I translate for people.

Sometimes Anangu don’t understand what the doctors are saying to them, I help them understand. I also help people with a disability or old people connect with health workers and services.

The best part of my job is seeing all the clients in Warakurna, Warburton, Blackstone, Jamieson, Wanarn and helping them out. I tell staff what the clients need.

A Funny Story

One day we were driving back to Wingellina from Amata and I said to JC “Oh you see that woman on the side of the road, standing there, and she was waving to us, you didn’t see, but I seen it”. We stopped nearby to make kangaroo tail for lunch and M said “we have to go back to get that lady, she still there waiting, we got to pick her up – poor lady”.  So JC and M went back down the road to pick up the waving lady.  They drove around but in the end they realised what I thought was a waving lady was really just a tree that looked like a woman.

Three important things to know when you work out bush

Nintitjaku – to learn

Malpa – friend

Purkara Purkara – go slowly

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Read more about the NPYWC Tjungu Aged & Disability Service here