Firstly, I am safe, my family are safe and my friends are safe, yet I am overwhelmed by sadness. Everywhere we turn there are stories of the desperate struggle to survive amongst even more stories of tragedy and sorrow; families who have lost everything they own, other families that have lost children, parents or partners. The front page of MX (the local free afternoon paper) reads ‘There aren’t enough hugs to make this pain go away.’
Despite the sadness and despair, the survival spirit is strong. People are giving all they can to help the survivors. Many businesses are contributing to the bushfire appeals by matching donations made by employees and donating tools and equipment to rebuild. My kids have decided to donate to the bush fire appeal. They are going to give all of the money they have been saving to buy Christmas gifts for other children to the bush fire appeal saying that the kids shouldn’t have to wait until Christmas to get toys.
Tonight we spent the evening at the Victoria Market listening to a singer I have raved about in the past – Coby Grant. She gave an amazing performance, and to make the evening even better, she was donating proceeds from CD sales to the bush fire appeal. Most stall holders were donating a percentage of their profits to the appeal. The security staff were working for free and donating their fee to the appeal, and were helping to collect coins to donate to the appeal. The spirit of giving was amazing.
I know that Victoria will be in pain for a long time, but I know that we will survive, we will work together to rebuild and we will remember. Hopefully we will also learn to make sure that no one, anywhere, suffers the way that Victoria is suffering now.