Lows and Highs in Christchurch

Last week I spent some time in Christchurch, with family and friends, and went door-to-door distributing food and advice with the Green team in the hard-hit suburb of Aranui.

Everyone is suffering trauma of one sort or another. My friend, who was in the Cathedral Café when the rocks came down. My relations with badly damaged houses – who won’t have proper water and sewage for quite a long time.

But it’s not all lows. In the heart of Aranui I saw celebration of community. In one place there was a big fire place on the front lawn, with a pile of wood, where neighbours had been cooking food together. The next door neighbour commented that “it shouldn’t take a disaster to bring us all together”. But together they now are.

Tears came to my eyes last Thursday morning as I watched the Student Volunteer Army mobilize at the university. Hundreds of high-spirited students arriving with their shovels for another solid day attacking the ‘liquifaction’.

It also made me think. The Facebook Generation is making history, not only in the Middle East, but also in our own country. The selfless dedication of the Canterbury students was something to behold, and should inspire us to greater efforts to help the people of Christchurch.