Anyone would think I didn’t enjoy the convent with a title like that … Or that I don’t like churches ??
But seriously … I did enjoy the ‘convent’ and I don’t like churches :)
I guess I’ve been mulching the whole thing round in my already fucked pts(d) brain and trying to put in into perspective – my perspective that is.
I dig the convent. The Nuns. The whole experience. I like the whole shutting yourself off from the rest of the world scenario, so you can get back to the ‘god’ experience. I dig it. Completely. I remember the same feeling at the monastery I used to go too. Peaceful dudes just doing their thang.
What I don’t dig … is the whole colonial, missionary, great-white-hope gig.
Don’t dig it at all.
And even though this whole up-the-river journey was extremely gangstah … I just couldn’t get rid of that looming feeling of impending colonisation that has stained this part of the country … that has stained the entire country really.
There were tourists for miles.
Lots and lots of white tourists. Taking photos. Talking about the shit roads. Asking questions about the history of the Nuns and Jerusalem itself. To the ‘keepers’ of the convents credit, these dudes knew a shitload of actual history regarding the influx of ‘settlers’ and tourists and entrepreneurs and thieves and drunkards and disease spreading peeps … to these parts.
This convent was started when apparently lots of ‘babies’ were left on the doorstep of this Nun. According to one dude, they were ‘white’ babies … my guess is they were actually beige babies … brown babies whose white families would be shamed if the mother brought them home.
So the convent took them all in and raised them, schooled them, fed them, clothed them … ‘saved them’.
My beef … .well one of the many beefs … is prior to colonisation the family unit (hapu) of tangata whenua was made up of everybody. Everyone had a place. Babies were precious … they were / are the future … they are our blood, our ties, our transition, our legacy, our hope, our Future. They were never unwanted. Not ever.
How did we get to the place where less than 50 years after colonisation there is a house, and a ‘need’ for a house, to house children who were unwanted????
Thats completely fucked up.
And shit has not changed in the slightest since then.
There is still an overarching mentality that believes We cannot look after our children: that the great white hope knows better than We do: and We need their assistance.
Excuse Me for stating the obvious though.
“They caused the mess. They pretended We caused the mess. Then they came to Us with their solutions to Our (Their) mess which included Us being eternally grateful to them for cleaning up Our (Their) mess.”
It’s mind bendingly fucked!
Part of the ‘sickness’ solutions came in the form of Our medicines … which we apparently ‘lost’. Thats right … ‘Lost’. Fuck sakes.
They bottled them. Sold them. Did good by distributing them to the natives so they could heal themselves.
Pretty hard not to throw up at this point.
Not only was it ‘outlawed’ – Us preparing our own ‘medicines’; but we were forced to have babies indoors under the supervision of a ‘midwife’ … the placentas were ripped from Us and thrown in the garbage … we were forced into clothing and footwear that didn’t do us any favours … and when we got sicker and sicker … we got served up a medicine that was Ours, bottled by the great white hope.
To her Nunnery credit: apparently when the money makers decided to make a few more dollars off’ve the concoctions she had bottled, she threw the bottles and the ‘recipes’ back into the river, saying … they belong here.
Did she have a pang of conscience somewhere as she saw Us dropping like flies?
Theres other parts of her history and the things she did that are completely cool .. that she tried to ‘fix’ what her male compadres had wreaked on this country.
But I have trouble swallowing the ‘lets be grateful’ routine, when all I can see is the bullshit that the great white hope has left behind.
That grateful routine is still being utilised in our parliament. It’s still embedded in tangata whenua mindset.
That the Great-White-Hope is the only hope: the most intelligent: the most superior.
Not realising or admitting the sad fact: that they caused the mess in the first place and the solutions they sell back to Us, were Ours in the first place.
However … I loved the convents walls … the architecture … the ‘oldness’ of it all.
But it’s walls creaked with a history that seems like it wants to be forgotten … but I heard loud and clear.