A counsellor's diary

We have amazing, passionate staff working in rural communities across Western Australia. The incredible work they do supports some of the most vulnerable Western Australians. They live courageously and helping people is at the heart of all they do. We hope you enjoy this diary entry from one of our remote workers and the insight into their daily life.

Please be aware that the story below contains graphic content that may be distressing to some readers.

5 sleeps to go

I hear they have bars on the window at the hotel. I wonder if it will be safe to go outside. They tell me there are more murders per capita in this town than many places in Australia. I am only 21. I hope I am safe. Over 2000kms from the nearest city. I wonder if they have a coffee shop there?

It’s been two weeks

What they said was true. This morning I went for a walk. There were two police officers sitting in their car on the oval, next to them was a tarp laying over the body of a lady who was killed by her husband. People were walking down the street, everyone knows what happened but no one says a word. They turn their heads and go on about their day.

On the other side of the oval there is a family sitting together eating lunch. I wonder if they know that lady, there are not many people in this town, I am going to guess they probably did.

It’s been a month now

I am starting to settle. So many things happen in this town however it's weird I still feel safe. People told me I wouldn’t be able to leave my hotel, they said it was too dangerous but now for the first time in my life I go jogging each evening. Everyone is so nice, they look out for me, warn me about snakes along the path and offer me their water along the way. Something about this place makes me feel content. It’s as if the land has chosen to nurture me.

It’s been 3 months now

I’m living in a house rather than the hotel. I don’t have a lot of furniture but it’s nice to have a kitchen and cook my own food. I miss having people around me, the hotel was quite social. 

In the house there have been a few nights where I got scared. I could hear someone outside. I went out early one morning and found a man sleeping in my front yard. He had been drinking and didn’t look well but he was nice, we spoke for a while, it was as if he was looking out for me.

He asked if he could go back to sleep under my tree I said that was fine. He slept there every night for the next 9 months. It made me feel a little safer. We never spoke but I knew he was there and was confident he would keep an eye on things.

It’s been 6 months now

My job is amazing. People are getting to know me and I’m starting to build trust. Yesterday I sat in the long grass with the grandparents of one of my clients. They told me stories and explained to me how it used to be. They spoke about the changes in their culture and how they were doing their best to teach their grandson everything they knew. They told me about how they would work on the old cattle stations, they didn’t get paid but they got fed and have some positive memories of this time. They told me others weren’t so lucky.

While we were talking there was a man next to us painting, I arrived back at my office that day to see the painting waiting in reception for me. Wow, what an amazing day.

Today is Tuesday

I love Tuesdays, it is our team meeting day. I grab myself a cup of tea, the water in my tea cup is brown. It doesn’t make me sick so I guess its ok. I pick up the phone and dial in. It’s my only chance each week to talk to people outside of this community, it’s so nice to hear their voices. Many of them I haven’t met, I wonder what they look like?

It’s been nearly a year now

This last week has been hard. I went to the hospital because I have boils all over my face. The doctor explained to me that my body wasn’t coping with the lack of fresh food available. He suggested I take vitamins but reminded me the closest chemist was over 300kms away.

It got worse, I woke up in the night knowing something was wrong. I could hardly get out of bed. Every time I stood up I fell over. The hospital was just across the road, I wonder if anyone is there. I wonder if I can make it across the road.

I walk out and it becomes too much, I curl up on my driveway and go to sleep. I wake up at the hospital, they tell me a man carried me there, a drunk man who they said is homeless. I knew he would look out for me. He might have saved my life. I am so glad I allowed him to sleep under that tree.

They tell me I am severely dehydrated, it was 40 degrees today. I don’t drink as much water as I used to, the brown water doesn’t taste as good as it should. I spent some time with one of the nurses while I was there, it’s a shame I am leaving, we could have been friends.

2 days to go

My friends and family say I missed out on things while I was away. It does get lonely and I wish I could bring them all here. None of them have come to visit, I guess it’s not their thing. It’s hard to explain to them how wonderful it is. I just don’t think they understand.

It’s the end of my contract and I am going home.

For others this is home, I will miss this place.

Feeling lost?

Anglicare WA offers a wide range of services in 83 locations across WA, we’re never too far away.

If you’re not sure where to go, call us on 1300 11 44 46.