Christchurch is full of stories. Everybody has a story to tell. I volunteered to work on Monday and Tuesday and listened to some peoples stories and hugged some people. That's all I could do.
There are stories about houses and roads covered with silt. 300.000 tons have been removed and there are still tons lying around. Good stories too about a 20.000 student volunteer army, who armed with shovels remove the zilt from gardens, driveways. A smile about somebody who put a sign For free on top of the pile.
There are stories of people who had to leave their house because it is heavily damaged or there is no water, power and or/ sewerage. At this stage 55.000 houses have no water, 30.000 no power and 75.000 no sewerage. Lots of people have therefore left Christchurch or stay with family and friends within Christchurch. There are also people though living in tents, garages and cars for example.
The story about a 14 year old boy, an only child, who went into the city with the bus to spend his birthday money. He is missing ever since. 200 are still missing and 147 confirmed death. Today there was two minutes silence to remember the dead at 12.51 the time the earthquake struck a week ago. We left our building and stood quietly on the car park.
There are stories of people helping. About a young man who had been arranging the traffic tirelessly for days as the traffic lights didn't work and he probably saved lives. Stories about doctors working from car parks even if they have lost everything. Nurses who make 12 hour shifts etc
Stories of strength. I know a person who works in the children's home. He was stuck in a toilet in central city and after making a lot of noise they found him and broke the door open with a crowbar. His car being stuck in a parking garage he hitch hiked home, picked up the van and picked up all the children from school and supported them.
The emotions are just enormous.
There is fear, with every aftershock your heart jumps a beat. This morning I was on the toilet and the floor moved as if I was on a ship on a wave, when a 4.3 aftershock hit us. Fear about what the future may bring.
There is sadness to see and hear many nice people suffering
There is anger. I was very angry as we closed early today for some reason and we had to sent somebody away who had to search somewhere else to do what he had to do. I was angry that they didn't let me stay. I felt an enormous guilt as well that I went home. My daughter took a break today and felt guilty that she didn't work today. She doesn't have too but they are short of people.
There is love as I hugged a stranger and we felt so connected and happiness as people are able to have some fun and enormous happiness when my kids entered the door 4 1/2 hours ater the quake had hit.
We are trying to relax and did well in the weekend as a friend baked some hamburgers for us. We went there with 4 teenagers and had a good time.
We are having break downs as well. At times we are walking on egg shells especially at home. All of us already had a meltdown and yesterday I also behaved like an angry kid, unreasonable and wanted to leave this horrible place. I was ranting for a while and my son was trying to knock some sense into me. After that I felt relieved though. I apologised and moved on. Trying to keep moving forwards, trying to reach out whenever there is an opportunity. I know we will get there but I also know that many new stories will unfold.
I still love New Zealand and feel lots of love for live and I know the following: don't take life for granted and give your loved ones a hug today.