Photo Essay

Chasing Bumblebees

bumblebees I

W. is a remote bush community, 520 kms west of Alice Springs. It is home to the Pintupi tribe, former hunter-gatherers, who were amongst the last black mobs to come into contact with the white mob. 40,000 years of bush living versus a few decades of modern Australian lifestyle is not just a serious culture clash. It is different universes. The bumblebees, as I have named the kids, occupy their own universe out here. They come to school or they don't. They go to bed or they don't. They roam freely and untamed; wild, loud and cheerful. Time doesn't exist for them unless it is lesson time in school. Rules are there only to be broken. Their indifference to numeracy and literacy is mind-boggling. Their raw and wild spirits are inspiring. They excel in sports and stumble over reading exercises. As kids in a classroom they are nothing short of a royal pain in the neck. As neglected kids on the endless red sand roads they are heartbreakers. They buzz around with an energy that is indeed much like the energy of bumblebees - determined, noisy, unimpressed by borders or laws. W. is the bumblebees' universe.

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14 responses

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (23 Mar 2012):

    This is a powerful photo essay!

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett gave props (23 Mar 2012):

    Voted! Well done

  • ajtiM

    ajtiM (Deleted) said (23 Mar 2012):

    brilliant! my vote.

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (24 Mar 2012):


  • JPG

    JPG gave props (26 Mar 2012):

    Story of the Week!

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (26 Mar 2012):


  • Carol Arntsen Masiak

    Carol Arntsen Masiak gave props (27 Mar 2012):

    congrats on story of the week - my vote!

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (27 Mar 2012):

    Congratulations on making Story of the Week, a well deserved recognition!

  • Marco Martinez

    Marco Martinez gave props (1 Apr 2012):

    I enjoyed reading about your experiences with these children. I can appreciate the way they touched your lives, and I believe you have also touched theirs. It is appreciation learned through the experience that makes a lasting impression on all of us. Thanks for sharing. May you always hear the sound of bumblebees wherever you are.

  • Anika Pilnei

    Anika Pilnei said (4 Apr 2012):

    Thank you all for the lovely comments and especially to Regenia for nominating this for Story of the Week! :)

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (5 Apr 2012):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (5 Apr 2012):

    Congrats on making Story of the Week!


    ROCIO GUILLEN gave props (28 Apr 2012):

    You definitively have my vote!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (14 Dec 2013):

    Great photographers choice... Incredible!!! vote

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