Where did coronavirus come from?


5. Coronavirus – where did it come from?

In this program, Maratja Dhamarrandji understands coronavirus is a serious killer disease, particularly for people with chronic disease or who are elderly. He explains that many Yolŋu want to know how it began and where it comes from. They want the “dhuḏi-dhäwu” – the deep full foundational story about the disease.

Richard Trudgen talks about how the virus started in Wuhan Province in China and was transferred from bats to humans. Nikunu Yunupingu asks if it’s from eating and sharing animal meat. Richard explains that it’s not from eating bats but moves from bats to people when they are very close to each other. This happens in places like large Chinese markets where wild and live animals are sold and there are also lots of people, sometimes living closely together.


6. Waanga Animal Market in China

In this program, Richard Trudgen describes how there are many different sorts of wild and domestic animals in cages in the markets, as well as many dead animals. This can involve cooking and cutting up a big variety of animals and sometimes there might be thousands of animals in the market kept as pets or for food. This is because many of these animals are considered very valuable in China or are thought to have special medicinal characteristics. So people can make a good income by selling them.


7. Diseases passing from animals to humans

In this program, Richard Trudgen explains that scientists say the coronavirus originally comes from bats. He talks about the word ‘virus’ and the gakal (size, colour, shape) of this one. He explains that viruses are smaller than bacteria and can be transferred by mucus from bats to people. He points out that it’s a new virus, so even the scientists are still discovering what it is and how it works.


Click here for our full COVID-19 playlist.


Other education programs in Yolŋu Matha are available on the Why Warriors YouTube channel or via the Yolŋu Matha learning platform, www.djambatjmarram.com.
These COVID-19 resources are produced by Maratja Dhamarrandji, Nikunu Yunupingu and Richard Trudgen.
Thank-you to © Helix Animation 2020 for the animations provided. All rights reserved.

About Richard Trudgen

Richard was born in Orange NSW and trained as a fitter and turner. He moved to Arnhem Land in the NT in 1973 and became a community worker, learning to speak Djambarrpuyŋu. Has now worked with Yolŋu people for over 45 years. He was the CEO of Aboriginal Resource and Development Services (ARDS) for 10 years during which time he developed discovery education methodology with Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM and also established Yolŋu Radio in 2003. He is the author of Why Warriors Lie Down and Die and facilitated ‘Bridging the Gap’ seminars, and delivered corporate training across Australia. He is currently the CEO of Why Warriors Pty Ltd, a community development social enterprise organisation working with Yolngu people. He spends his day writing, producing podcasts and building online learning platforms, producing videos and working face to face with Yolngu. He is also involved in building online cross-cultural training material to build understanding between Indigenous peoples and the Dominant Culture.

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