The property next to mine is currently for sale, and yesterday I was visited by the agent responsible for the sale. She’d come to check on the state of the property following the quake. Having satisfied herself that the structure was sound, her attention shifted to the pile of silt caused by liquefaction that was covering the gardens and driveway in front of the house. Casually she waved her hand across it and asked me, “when are THEY going to come and clear this up?” I simply looked at her in mild shock – “who are THEY?” I asked.
As it happened, the focus of attention for today for the people living in the lane I live in was cleaning up the mess of liquefaction that had accumulated in each of the properties – a communal effort, so in fact the THEY was WE 🙂
The photo above shows my son atop the pile of silt/sludge that we moved, barrow-load by barrow-load onto the street in front of where we live. It joined similar piles placed by residents in front of their properties all along the street, waiting for it to be gathered up by council workers, or perhaps by one of the volunteer farmers who has come to town with their diggers and tractors to help.
The experience demonstrated to me the truth of the old saying “many hands make light work”. In my case there were five of us who toiled for nearly four hours to get the job done – I can’t imagine what it would have taken me to do alone. 🙂
In other parts of the city this is the sort of work being undertaken by a 10,000-strong student volunteer army that has been gathered via Facebook.
Across town, around 30 of my colleagues at CORE gathered to remove nearly 50 tons of liquefaction (making my pile look tiny!) from the property of one of our staff members – a MASSIVE effort!
Meanwhile, the cleanup in the centre of the city goes on with searches continuing for people/bodies among the ruined buildings. This evening on the news they announced that approx one third of the CBD is likely to be demolished as a result of the quake damage. With the whole of the CBD cordoned off, we rely on news footage and radio reports for glimpses of what it’s like in there. My son-in-law is with the police, and travelled into the area today – his first hand reports were extremely sobering, and somewhat saddening. TV3 provides some memorable before and after shots of some of the damage.
Today’s lesson – restoration of our homes and city is going to take a very long time. By working together we’ll make it happen – the power of community at work! It’s about WE, not THEY!