Some of you may remember a post we wrote awhile back about court day here in Numbulwar, well this week court day rolled around again. It was fairly quite around town this time for most of the day, but in the afternoon Jason needed to take some passengers and freight out to meet the closed charter plane from Gove, so Sam and I went along for a little trip.
There were a huge number of planes in Numbulwar on this day. MFI (our MAF plane) is normally the only resident aircraft at Numbulwar airport but on this day the apron (technical term for aeroplane parking spaces) was jam packed. There were 2 MAF planes, a police aircraft, planes full of lawyers, court reporters, witnesses and more…
One of the reasons I love going out the airport with Jason is that it allows me to meet more people from Numbulwar. On this occasion, the lady we picked up to take to the airport was a translator for the courts. She is a health worker in another community in Arnhem Land but gets called in to translate for court sessions. Her children and grandchildren live here in town, some of whom Sam and I know from playgroup. She told me that she speaks Yolgnu Matha, Kriol, Wubuy and several other languages, which is why she is so helpful for the courts. She was tired from concentrating all day and being so careful with her words. A feeling I remember well from parent teacher interviews, where every words and phrase needed to be carefully chosen to say exactly the right thing.
The translator lady told us that on this day two prisoners had been flown into town from prison in Darwin to face their hearings. One man was released but the other was sent back to prison, via the police plane that came to collect him while we waited at the airport. As the police car, containing officers and the prisoner, sat at the airport waiting for the plane, many carloads of people gathered to say farewell. Goodbyes were said through the bars on police van, parents holding kids up so they could be part of it too. My heart went out to the lady, I presume his wife, who stood holding a toddler as she watched her man being escorted onto the plane and away from her.