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Steven comes to us completely distraught

Coolgardie — 1999-09-20

In the middle of the night Steven comes to us completely distraught and in tears and seeks protection from his mother. “You never know what people do when they’re drunk”, he says trembling all over for fear. We are at a loss. Tanja takes little Steven in her arms and comforts him. When Diana’s shrill cry tears through the night, we decide to send Steven home. “If she hurts you even in the slightest, you call us and we’ll be right there to help you”, Tanja and I say. As Steven goes home again I sneak after him to make sure he is safe.

Ever since we’ve been here, Tom has behaved like a general giving orders in a military sort of way. He is usually in a terrible mood and sneaks about the yard like a ghost. Putting up with his moods is more than we can bear. Furthermore, it turns out that he has not given the other three camels, Sabu, Look and Boo, the basic training agreed upon. Although it is already mid-September, and we intend to set out in November, we are not allowed to work with the three animals. We are seriously worried now that we will be forced to delay the start of our expedition again on account of the three as yet completely untrained camels. When Tom then, right in front of us, beats a wild cat to death with a triangular steel bar and throws it in the bin, I begin to loathe him. Of course we are aware that those cats that have been imported by the white man mean a disaster for the Australian continent, as they are regarded responsible for the extermination of various species of birds and lizards, however, his brutal, unexpected way of killing came as a shock to us.

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