Before I flew into Aurukun the Director of Nursing at the Health Clinic told me she employed two Tongan security guards to keep the nurses safe in the clinic on after hours emergency call outs.
When I arrived in 2008 I was taught how to lock the ambulance securely in a shipping container. Prior to that idea ambulances had been stolen and wrecked by local youths hungry for adventure.
I soon became accustomed to carrying several keys for various secured doors and the padlocks of closed heavy metal gates.
The word security means the state of being free from danger or threat, it comes from an old Latin word, securitas, which means “free from care”.
Aurukun over the past 20-30 years has had a history of violence, riots in the streets and fighting between families and clans. The reasons are too many and complicated for this post. But it’s resulted in the need for high security measures for all who work there.
It’s an odd thought that to be safe and free from care actually requires a large amount of resources, planning and attention. It’s just another paradox I’ve encountered as a remote area nurse.