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I am somebody

Be moved by the experience of Jayda, a young girl who has found love, connection and belonging with her grandparents. A story of Aboriginal culture, the power of family love and the importance of listening to the voices of children.

Mort, grandfather

‘You see all these little grains of sand on the beach, right down to the tiny ones? That’s how much I love you.’

My father fought for this land for 25 years. When he passed away I took on the fight for another 25. In 2005 we got this land back. To have Jayda here with us now is so special. I tell Jayda that when I look at the island I am seeing it through my father’s eyes, and my grandfather’s eyes. I see what they see. And now she does too.

When I got the call from Emma I wasn’t surprised. I would have walked the earth to keep my grand-kids safe. To have Jayda here at home and on her country is an honour. I am part of the Stolen Generations so I would never have allowed Jayda to be raised by somebody else.

Picture of Jayda and Mort smiling

Picture of Jayda and Mort smiling.

Picture of Jayda sitting near rocks

Picture of Jayda sitting near rocks.

Working with Emma has made this journey so easy for all of us. She works hard, she asks, she communicates. We have been lucky to work with Emma, and have Emma work with us. We’ve accepted her, she’s a part of the team. Our family has not always had good experiences with the welfare, but I’ve said to Jayda that sometimes you need to trust them. Jayda can see that now. Workers like Emma need to help the little ones who can’t be with their parents.

Jayda and I are always laughing about something. I call her matey and she calls me mate. We always have something planned. In the afternoon when I go down and pick her up from school I might say, ‘Alright, the tide has dropped, let’s go and catch a squid and sit over on one of those big surf rocks.’ Or we go for a walk and I tell her stories. I tell her how the island got its name, what fish are out, how we sailed in by boat. It is always a journey just walking along the beach, you can tell so much.

Jayda and I were walking along the beach one day and she said to me, ‘Pop, how much do you love me?’

I turned around and I said, ‘You see all these little grains of sand on the beach, right down to the tiny ones? That’s how much I love you’. I then asked Jayda, ‘How much do you love me?’

She said, ‘See all these beaches around the island here and the little white grains of sand on them? That’s how much I love you.’

So I said, ‘I love you to infinity.’

Jayda said, ‘I love you to infinity back.’

I told her, ‘You’ve won. We’re not doing this all day!’

Picture of ocean.

Picture of ocean.

We’re working on getting Seth support so he can travel to the island and spend time here. I think island life will be good for him. We’ll be ready for him when it’s right. I dream about seeing Jayda and Seth playing down here on the beach together.

Sue thinks Jayda has all the makings of an Aboriginal activist. She is curious and has deep empathy for people. Jayda wants to make the world a better place. Jayda is proud of her culture and interested in the history of our people. I want Jayda to have a good education and Sue and I will be pushing for that. The sky is the limit for my little matey.

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Last updated: 19 Nov 2019