We here in the Western Cape have been rendered helpless and hopeless. We have had a week from hell.
We had a bad storm, but not the mother and daughter or father and son of all storms. In my over thirty years of living here but bad enough with loss of life and homes and a little water to relieve some of the drought situations, but not enough yet. A lot of mopping to be done in the aftermath, but grateful that it was no worse.
Worse though was the devastating fires that raged through the Knysna, Sedgefield and Plettenberg Bay areas of the Western Cape with extensive loss to property, animals, and human life. It was such a sad thing to have happened. We are now crying with our friends there. We have all been touched my this. Everyone knows someone who has been affected. A friend’s family , a family member, or a friend or relative somewhere in that area has seen the disasters but has also, and more importantly seen the wonderful help that has been forthcoming from so many wonderful people. Municipalities sent volunteers firemen and women, and full-time employees too. All dug in. Strangers helped each other. The towns became united in their misery.
This morning the worst of the fires are over, and mopping up operations continue, and now is the time for us to really be there in support of these people. The spirit of the people in the area is great though. They are sitting up and saying, ‘we are open for business as usual. Come now, come and visit, spend your money in our towns. We need your help.’ And they do.
For And what of those who have lost everything? I tried to put myself in their shoes, but was overwhelmed by the mere thought of where to start. Imagine that you have, the clothes you stand up in, and nothing more… A few days ago you had a roof over your head, a car in the garage, a job to go to, and bills to pay. Now? You don’t even have a utility bill to prove who you are, and perhaps not even an identity document.
What about the man who has lost his wife, his children and his home and car? What does he do? Well, one in particular, it was reported, got up, dusted himself off and went to help fight the fire. What a hero!
Two firefighters lost their lives in the tragedy, one a volunteer, one an experienced and valuable member of a firefighting team. Unsung heroes all of them. A young family died, amongst others, a little boy celebrating his birthday and his mother waiting for a new baby to arrive. There will be no happy ending to their tale.
We went down to our local fire-station yesterday where bemused firemen were still collecting goods to take to the people up there who needed our donations. They, too, were just shaking their heads in disbelief. They, too, could not believe what has happened.
Well, we can’t sit by and just shake our heads in disbelief. We have to be positive, do something positive, no matter what. We must support each other. This is our own private ‘war’ we are fighting. We are fighting the elements and these elements of nature have no mercy.
And no matter how small the helping hand you offer, it is and will be appreciated. Just DO IT.