Words and feature image by Lorraine Garay
Lorraine Garay shares some reflections on how Covid-19 has impacted Yalata Anangu communities
There was a shortage of food and price rising of goods sold in the stores. At the beginning of lockdowns, bread prices went from $5.50 a loaf to $6.00. After meetings with Outback Stores, bread was sold at $3.00 a loaf; howeverm the bread came from Katherine in the Northern Territory and was stale when people wanted to buy it. There was also a real shortage of toilet paper and baby wipes.
There were so many restrictions and very little information provided. Initially, community was told that no one was allowed to leave the community. This led to fear and frustration towards the police and other community members.
Drugs and alcohol:
During the beginning of the lockdown, there was very little drugs coming into the community, and this led to fights between people and there was a rise in attempted suicides by some of our young men. Sadly, we had our first suicide in our community in many years.
There was a limit on funerals, the process surrounding it and how many could attend. This affected the way funerals were conducted and it meant people couldn’t mourn properly. Funerals were rushed and the funeral people had to take photos of the mourners. Due to travel restrictions, many family members couldn’t make it which made it harder for families to grieve all together.
Some good news though:
Our kids are happier because parents are home in the community, and with the COVID supplement, parents can afford to buy their kids things like bikes from the store. Not many people are visiting other community members for food so that is helping out. We can spend days out bush every weekend.