Blue and green are the colours of home.
In the minutes, hours and days since the earthquake struck Christchurch last Tuesday we have all felt powerless. The desire to help in some way, in any way, is huge.
Facebook has come into its own in spreading messages and love far more effectively than any other medium.
Last week, the call came out via Facebook to ‘bake-off for Christchurch’. A page was created for the event and details were updated as necessary. Bake on Sunday, pack into ice-cream container and drop-off on Monday from 7.00am – 9.ooam at any one of three designated points.
At last an opportunity to do something from the heart.
So I baked and baked and baked – one slice – lots of it!
This morning I dropped off my container. As I walked down the street, busy with people making their way to work, I was struck by the number of people carrying containers. Smiling faces … a sense of purpose, at last being able to do something, being able to contribute.
An athletic looking young girl walking alongside her racing bike bike strode past me and asked if I was going to the bake-off. Her accent was european – possibly dutch. I watched as she went up to the table, opened her backpack and unpacked her baking. Her smile was huge.
A steady stream of people (including young children) made their way to the table. Two young girls, one with a tulle skirt were carrying parcels wrapped in decorative paper and ribbon – cards were attached. As they put them on the table a photographer spotted them – we’ll see them in tomorrow’s Dominion Post.
On another table people were invited to queue up and write messages for the people of Christchurch on a huge calico banner.
I turned on the radio when I arrived home. Over 7,000 containers of baking had been received … love and care shown though one simple act.
While striding out this morning I saw this pretty little baby’s shoe lying in the gutter. I felt instantly sad … tears welled.
A reminder of the tragic loss of life from Tuesday’s earthquake in Christchurch. To date there have been 123 confirmed deaths … the names of six have so far been published. Two are babies.
In a few brief seconds, the dreams parents had for their lives are gone. They have been dealt the cruelest of blows.
We can accept death more easily when it’s in the natural order of things. It’s more difficult, unbelievably difficult, when death strikes the young. As a mother, my heart aches at their loss and I can only imagine the pain parents and families are having to endure.
Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the community in Christchurch.
Christchurch Press building was damaged beyond repair in Tuesday’s earthquake.
In the wake the quake Press reporter Vicki Anderson, who was at work at the time of the quake, wrote these words:
(Although the message is addressed to New Zealanders, it applies to everyone)
“New Zealand, we need you. Aside from your practical support, which we thank you for, we need you to understand how draining and anxiety-causing these aftershocks are. We need you to give us your strength, kindness and support to help is get through this disaster.
Wherever you live, whatever you do, hold your loved ones close, tell the people you care about what they mean to you, and please, no matter where you are in New Zealand, pack your survival kit – I used to watch those ads and think they didn’t apply to me.
Life is fragile. I stood on the edge of the abyss and peered into the darkness today. People of New Zealand, let your love be our light.”
If I could have anything to et right now – with my coffee – it would be this best pastry every from Il Pirata cafe in the little town of Vernazza – on the famous Cinque Terre walk in Italy. Light and crunchy pastry with a gooey lemon ricotta filling.
Then a couple of hours later I’d like to sink my teeth into the peach we left behind in the fridge in our room. The peach we had bought to savour on our long train trip to Milan. I still dream about it!
Since then I have followed the tragedy on radio and television – thrilled when I hear news of a successful rescue, saddened with reports of others who haven’t made it. So far 75 have been confirmed dead, a further 300 are still missing.
My heart is heavy.
Though feeling relieved that my friends in Christchurch are safe and well, my heart goes out to those who have not been so fortunate. Television news has been bringing us reports continuously since the quake struck – they show images of the city’s destruction and of a community banding together to help each other through this disaster. Power is out in about 80% of the city, water is scarce, and people have been asked to not flush their toilets – but to bury their waste. Stories are being told of miraculous escapes, while anguish shows on the faces of others waiting in hope.
Search and rescue teams have come from elsewhere in New Zealand and from Australia, Japan, USA and Britain to help dig through the rubble in the hope of finding survivors.
Hearts are huge and generous.
And I sit comfortably here feeling powerless. I want to help … I so want to help.
Just before 1.00 pm this afternoon (New Zealand time) Christchurch was hit buy another earthquake – 6.3 magnitude at a depth of 5 kms with epicentre estimated to be 10 kms south of the city.
The first earthquake of 7.4 rocked Christchurch and surrounding areas at 4.30am on 4 September 2010 causing significant damage. The whole region since then has been subjected to crippling aftershocks with people living in fear of the next big one.
Reports from today’s event suggest multiple fatalities and injuries, they talk of massive amounts of damage to the city and its infrastructure. The spire of Christchurch’s magnificent Cathedral has fallen, as have several buildings. An unknown number of people are trapped inside buildings, rubble and debris have flattened two crowded buses and countless cars, roads are buckled, water mains have burst, power and telephone have been disrupted, and liquefaction is running through the streets. Christchurch Hospital is being evacuated and civil defense emergency centres are filling fast.
People are terrified as the aftershocks keep coming.
The city is in shock. The whole of New Zealand is in shock.