Around the World With a Vagabond

Kia Kaha, Kiwis February 22, 2011

Filed under: February Doesn't Suck,Kia Kaha Kiwis — christynichols @ 12:47 pm
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I know this category of posts is meant to be themed with reasons why February doesn’t suck. However, I spent much of the day in front of the TV, watching as the horrific events in Christchurch unfolded. For many of my friends, this doesn’t make for a very positive and uplifting February.


The surreal footage wobbled as the camera swung from one crumbled building to the next, capturing images of people crying, shouting, and shaking in shock and fright.


I’ve never been to New Zealand, but in the past few years I have met some pretty stellar Kiwis.


It’s heartbreaking to witness a peaceful nation uprooted by Mother Nature into what looks like a war zone.  Streets are flooded; loved ones are trapped in fallen buildings.  There is no electricity, and the city sits in bleak darkness tonight.


In response to the earthquake, a friend of mine posted “Kia Kaha” as her Facebook status.  When I wiki’d it, I found it to be a phrase taken from New Zealand’s indigenous Maori language, and intended as a comfort and solace. It means forever strong.


And they will be.  When you meet a Kiwi, there is no denying their spirit, their toughness, their resilience, and their natural instinct to come together as a community and help, rescue, and rebuild.


While what happened today is indeed tragic, there is still some good to be found.


In Christchurch, there just happened to be a medical conference in session, with numbers of doctors from Melbourne, and probably other places in the world, in attendance.  The fact that the New Zealand city coincidentally had extra doctors on hand today is one good thing that “doesn’t suck”.


There also just happened to be a military training in progress in Christchurch, so having trained soldiers instantly available and in action is another thing about this day that “doesn’t suck.”


Keeping up with the headlines and breaking news, there are stories of heroism emerging from the devastation, and images of people of varying class and status working together to lift the same stretcher, heave building blocks, or carry out the wounded. There hasn’t been a case of looting, or blame, or fleeing chaos.  In fact, any images of fleeing are of groups of people, strangers, holding out their hands and fleeing together, most to return to their shaken homes and families.


There was only one arrest today in Christchurch of a man whose crime was that he was too insistent to help, so much that he was endangering himself and other emergency workers.  He was arrested because he was crazed with the urge to dig through the rubble and save someone.  Probably someone he knew.  Who can blame him?


Hearts and prayers and thoughts are going out to you, Kiwi friends.


“Kia Kaha.” Stay strong.