Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mucking in

I was listening to National Radio the other day when someone suggested to host, Jim Mora, that what Christchurch needed was a few series of "Mucking In". The beautiful thing is... it's already happening - self-generated and self-propelled.

Chch residents are mucking in already, helping out their neighbours, joining the UC volunteer student army (facebook link), or just stopping by wherever they figure they're needed. As I type this I am currently tired and sore but also feeling more hopeful about the fate & future of this city... and just a little virtuous after some good old-fashioned volunteer labour.

My son's Scout troop, like many, is based in a church hall. The church grounds and carpark had been hit by liquifaction as a result of Tuesday's shake and the Scout leader thought it would be useful if scouts & family members could help clear it up. So after a quick stop at The Warehouse to buy some gumboots, the boy and I headed across town to Spreydon to join the cleanup crew. One bonus of being up and about nice & early was that the queues at the petrol stations had yet to build up so I got some sorely-needed gas without having to wait 2 hours.

It didn't look like much... to begin with... but once you start, you realise just how heavy and squealchy it is, and it takes a lot of effort to get it off the ground from amongst the grass. And the smell... the one thing that cannot be communicated in pictures is the unpleasant sewer-like fumes that waft around on the breeze.
Our crew today consisted of scouts, venturers, troop leaders and their partners, parents and random passers-by. One of the most wonderful things about this morning's cleanup was the extra help: two contractors were driving past, so stopped & shovelled for 2 hours, while another local wandered down with his shovel & pitched in for at least an hour. We were given some boxes of bananas by a distributor who drove by, which were then packed on a cart and offered around the neighbourhood by 3 of the scouts.
A passing army vehicle... a reminder of just how weird it is right now.
 As you can see, the pile of sludge grew markedly by lunchtime!
Stopping for a well-earned rest after a few hours hard slog. People whose own houses are currently surrounded by deep sludge gave up their time to help this morning, and that sort of thing doesn't go unnoticed. Our next visit as a volunteer scout army will be to one of today's helpers' homes... in times like these we all have to pitch in to get stuff done... No-one has to do this alone - if you don't have your own portable scout army, get in touch with the UC student volunteers.

We also have discovered yet another reason to contact our insurance company... my man's car got shunted into the garage shelving unit during the quake and needs some repairs. For some reason I haven't parked my car under cover since the quake...
I know one woman at uni who hasn't taken the elevator since the September quake, in a building that has 6 floors. Every time her presence was required on a different floor, she took the stairs. At our meet&greet just last week, we were joking about her reluctance to use the lift. I can already hear her saying "I told you so..."

Some linky things for today:
On 2 wheels thru Chch
There goes the neighbourhood - Joe Bennett in Lyttelton
a friend's pics from Tuesday

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