Rallying together during times of tragedy
Ana Macdonald, a Mequoda Gold Member and owner of Anvil Publishing, experienced first hand the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand on February 22nd.
This was the deadliest natural disaster to hit the country in 80 years. As a result, hundreds of lives have been lost, buildings destroyed and lives changed forever.
Thankfully the Mequoda Group received contact from Ana this past week. Her family and employees are all ok, although her home and business have been badly damaged from the earthquake. She expressed in an email to us that she is feeling very blessed to be alive and appreciates her good fortune.
Despite the tragedy, the small community she lives in has been rallying together to create a camping hub to look after the elderly and families who cannot evacuate. They have been making the best of the situation by cooking their defrosted food outside on the BBQ together. People have been bringing the best meats, vegetables and beverages they still have to share. As Ana stated in her email, “Simple things in life can be cheerful.”
We continue to send our thoughts, prayers and well wishes to Ana and the people of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Below is a personal account from Ana reprinted with her permission.
Hi Aimee – Lovely to hear from you. We (family and employees) are all ok. A few minor injuries. The work office is extremely damaged and as there are deaths in the street the area has been cordoned off until the bodies are cleared. It is unknown when or if we will be allowed back to the office to retrieve anything.
That said we are very blessed to be alive and appreciate our good fortune. I anxiously await news of the people in the nearby buildings. It’s odd as I only know these people by their first names but for years they have made me coffee and served me food in the little cafe. We have passed on the street and in the work car-parks and had chats making small talk about the weather and the economy. And now I know some of them will have lost their lives. It’s so so sad.
At work and home have full insurance cover but this is slow to process because of the extent of the devastation. It is unknown when or if we will be able to resume business. I live in Sumner, an area that has been extremely affected. We have lost neighbours and friends out here. Much sadness.
However, the little community has rallied. Those of us who have remained have set up a camping hub to look after the elderly and the families who can’t evacuate. We now have power but no water or sewage systems. That could be quite some weeks.
But we are making the best of it. As all the food in the freezers started to defrost we have been cooking on the bbq. We’ve had lovely lobster, fillet steak, venison. People have brought out their best wine as well as harvesting fresh vegetables from gardens. Simple things in life can be cheerful.
The helicopter search and rescue teams are using the school located across the street from my house, as a base. It’s a constant hum of rotor blades and activity. The Police, Army, Firefighters and Search and Rescue check on us every day to make sure we are safe. They bring us in fresh water daily and a little store has opened for essential items. Our area has been intermittently isolated due to rock falls.
It’s so strange because in the northwest of the city they have not been affected. The roads, houses etc are ok. They have flushing loos and showers. Lucky sods! Lucky me, my neighbour is an engineer and he has built the most amazing latrine in the backyard – walls, door, proper loo seat, brick paving. Almost luxury. We keep expecting him to landscape it with plants.
The army brought in port-a-loos for our community and placed them on the street corners of the blocks. My other neighbour has set up outdoor furniture (tables and chairs) magazines, garden gnomes and pot plants. It looks hilariously funny and has made the area more acceptable. Using port-a-loos are not that dignified an experience. And oh, thank you to the USA for shipping out 960 new loos for us. Very kind.
My house sustained quite a bit of damage and all the art work, sculpture, china, glassware, crockery is broken beyond repair. As well as the tv, stereo etc. And I managed to blow up the vacuum cleaner yesterday trying to clean away the debris! The chimney came down and wiped out the neighbours fence and front door porch area. The other fireplace on the opposite side of the house has separated from the house providing new ventilation and additional light. In real estate terms it could be additional indoor-outdoor flow for ease of entertaining.
Tell you what though, baby wipes rock. Whatever you do to prepare for a national disaster, stock up on baby wipes. Lots of them. I buy them by the carton and always have some on hand for whenever we walk the dogs or go down to the horse paddock. My carton of baby wipes has been the talk of the neighbourhood. Brilliant for cleaning and bathing!
Got my car yesterday. I was in town when the quake hit and I rescued a few folk and ferried them around town to get them home. Praise be to the urban 4WD. I ran out of gas and had to abandon the car and trek the many miles home to the kids. I was prepared to swim the ocean if I had to. Six hours to get home and the kids gave me hug and said “animals accounted for, tv dead.” Got to love their priorities.
The kids and I remembered we had this email address. It comes from a family saying which means ‘amazing’. Years ago we owned a real junky little car that that we named ‘Frank’. Frank could go anywhere and was rather reliable. Hence, the mighty Frank. Charles also thought it was quite a good email address since to be frank is to get to the point.
Well, you can tell by this long rambling email that I’m missing the act of writing.
You would have seen my lawyer/board member on tv. He lowered many people by rope into a crane from the high-rise building in town. The internal staircase collapsed in the 17 story building. It must have been awful. But everyone survived.
Anyway, it was lovely to have contact from you. Thanks for emailing. Feel free to share this email. Give my regards to Gail, Amanda and Laura.
Take care, Kindest Regards – Ana