Sunday Territorian 23 Dec 2012
Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
Nationwide News Pty. Limited
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
www.sundayterritorian.com.au Sunday, December 23, 2012. Sunday Territorian. 15 P U B : NTNE-WS-DA-TE:23-DGE:15 CO-LO-R: C-M Y-K Make sure this year is a cracker of a Christmas Kylie Stevenson firstname.lastname@example.org My Darwin Christmas is unlikely to look anything like this... But whatever your Christmas looks like, make the most of it A T THE risk of sounding like a scrooge, Im not a huge fan of the festive season. I mean, its OK. Its better than an apocalypse. Christmas Day itself is fine, its the lead-up to the big day I really dislike. Battling through the supermarket crowds trying to discern which aisles would be home to items Id not buy at any other time of the year, like condensed milk and apple sauce. My ears being constantly assaulted by songs about sleigh rides, snowmen and holly, none of which have any relevance in my life. Deciding whether I should buy my brother some terrible music I despise but that I know he would enjoy, or buy him a CD that would improve his music cred enormously, but hed likely never listen to. Standing in the line at the post office only to get to the front and be told that Australia Post still doesnt own a teleporter and there is no way my presents can get to the other side of the country in a day. The remoteness of the Top End and the financial dis tance between us formersouthern northerners and our relatives means many of us dont make it home at this time of year. The only advantage to this is we dont have to face the proverbial drunk aunty with eternal lipstick on her teeth who bails you up in the bathroom and asks if the reason youre still single is because youre a lesbian. Then repeats her suspicions. At lunch. In front of everybody. For many who now call themselves Darwinians, December 25 is spent with a loose collection of other frugal internal immigrants happy to lie in a pool and eat prawns all day. The orphans Christmas is a Darwin tradition. But a couple of years ago I was able to attend a real orphans Christmas one not of a party of friends whose parents were down south, but with a group of children living at an orphanage in rural Kenya. R ANGI Care Centre ishome to a group of children who have lost either one or both of their parents. I first visited there in 2004, and was lucky enough to return in December 2010. Christmas there was modest. There was no Santa. No pork crackling. No decorated tree. No terrible Christmas cracker jokes. No embarrassing drunk relatives. The only presents were some shirts, pens and hats donated by Darwin businesses that I had brought with me and for these they were all so truly grateful. Our main meal of the day was cabbage and ugali a traditional Kenyan dough-like dish that tastes like air and sits in your gut like a rock. We attended a simple church service in a dusty classroom delivered in the local language Luo (not a word of which I understood). And there were chores to be done. Yet there were no complaints. This was Christmas as it is every year for these children, and they all had smiles on their faces. Back in Australia, its easy to become caught up in the craziness of the season and allow the crowds at the shops to propel you anxiously through to the big day. But Rangi reminded me there is much more to Christmas. This time of year is not easy for everyone and I dont just mean the less fortunate for whom the day is not much different from any other. I have friends spending possibly their last Christmas with loved ones who are sick. Friends facing their first Christmas without a loved one who theyve lost during the year. And friends with family in hospital. Christmas is not about religion for many of us, and I dont think it need be. But it should be about looking around that table at Christmas whether it be with family or friends or at an orphanage in the middle of nowhere and being grateful for those in your life. This year is another orphans Christmas for me a Darwin one with a small group of friends I am truly proud to call mine. And now that Im out of the post office queue, I will savour every minute of it. Merry Christmas everyone. To learnmore about Rangi Care Centre, visit www.friendsofrangi.org sundayterritorian.com.au OPINION I tried calling him and pinching his ears but he wouldnt wake up JACKMIDDLEHURST The hospitalworker saved a manwhohad been bashed frombeing run over by a kilometre-long freight train in Alice Springs I got a phone call saying they didnt wantme there its like a kangaroo court DARRELLHORN The grey nomad on being banned fromaTop End golf club afterwinning too many trophies They should not leave them to wander, get run over or die from heat or hunger KIRSTYNFLANAGAN TheRed Centre teen on finding four helpless, abandoned animals Genda just stuck in the thump stick. If hewasnt there shewould have easily gotme. MEGANWHITE The Crocosaurus Cove animal handlerwas nearly a gonerwhen a saltie lurched at her as shewas plucking eggs fromanest. Luckily colleagueGenda Campbell came to the rescue
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