Five years
living with Aboriginals
Sara and her son Pancho Sara and her son Pancho

 
I raised him in the old fashioned way, not like our grandmothers but like our great-great-grandmothers!
 

Imagine yourself living in the middle of nowhere, with unpaved roads for 100 kilometres all around, where the nearest chemist is three hours by car. It seems difficult, doesn't it? Well, that's what Sara Garrido did for five years of her life.

When she was 27 she left home in Murcia, quit her job as an air hostess at Iberia, sold her house and headed to Australia. "I was bored with my life so I decided to come to Australia. I sold everything. I didn't leave anything behind me. The only thing I kept was an art book collection", remembers Sara now from her home at Melbourne.

Her idea was to spend one year travelling around Australia and then go to Italy and continuing with her hostess career but everything changed as soon as she set foot in the country. 
She found out that there was a program called Wwoofing that puts you in contact with farmers and gives you the opportunity to work in exchange for food and accommodation so she decided to go to Darwin and try it.

She spent the first two weeks working on a farm. After that time, she thought it was time to move on to Cairns but she changed her mind just before buying the ticket at the bus station. "I was there, standing in front of the ticket window and I saw that I could do Wwoofing in an aboriginal community at Pender Bay in West Australia, so I did so".

But the experience wasn't as easy as it seemed. "We didn't have a toilet. The first night when I arrived I asked for it and they told me that I had to make a hole in the soil. We didn't have houses, not even kitchens. We slept in tents and we cooked with fire". It was a hard situation for someone like Sara. "I was an air hostess, I had not been camping in my whole life!", she exclaims. And she had to get used to sleep outside and fishing for her own food too.


Her experience turned around when she fell in love with Andrew, the aboriginal farmer. After three months she got pregnant. "I din't want to have children!" she remembers now. "I just wanted to live an experience travelling around Australia!" But she gave birth to Pancho and she never moved from the farm anymore. 


Bringing up a child in Pender Bay is a really big deal. The main issue is preventing a python from eating your son. "I never left him alone during the first year. He was always with me". But this wasn't the only problem. "I didn't have any resources. I raised him in the old fashioned way, not like our grandmothers but like our great-great-grandmothers!" she remembers now. 
Although living in such an isolated place had a lot of advantages, especially when you live in a place as beautiful as the Kimberley. As soon as she discovered the area, Sara fell in love with it. "I never had seen that kind of nature in all my life. We don't usually see anything when we watch the sea because we haven't got time, but there I saw dolphing, whales... When I was washing Pancho sometimes we had to go out because there could be sharks around".

This experience gave her the opportunity to get to know the aboriginal culture. "It took me years to understand the way they think"; something that for Sara is closer to Spanish culture than white Australians. "For aboriginal communities, family goes first and they're not so cold, they have more physical contact than white Australians" She admits that they still have a lot of differences between men and women but she understands them "because you have to think in their context". The most difficult thing to deal with was the body language. "Aboriginals have a lot of body language. For instance, if they move their head back and they raise their hand they want to say something different than if they do another movement".


After four years her relationship with Andrew ended, so Pancho and Sara moved on to Broome where they spent some years. Now both are in Melbourne where Sara has given a new direction to her life working as a personal trainer

By Paula González Iglesias

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