Since I’m at home and not mobile and my foot needs to be kept raised, my revised morning routine of recent months is to check email on the laptop, sit and chop veggies for dinner on a board on the bed and of late, do the exercises my physiotherapist has given me to do.
Depending on sleep (or lack of it) and pain relief required I usually catch a nap and later settle down to catch up on my favourite bloggers blog posts.
Since the Christchurch earthquake though, I have been totally focused on Christchurch, I can log into live-streaming news , look at the bigger Newspapers for on-line reports and have been making calls and emails to friends and relatives that I couldn’t get hold of yesterday.
House damage amongst them ranges from minimal to total write-off… the magnitude of what has happened is still to set in, the aftershocks, some as big as 5 on the Richter Scale are deeply unnerving.
Some are lucky enough to still have electricity and water and because of this are cramming friends, workmates and family into their homes, since whole swathes of the city are without power, water or sewerage lines.
Many are packing up and leaving town, they can’t sleep, the aftershocks in the dark are even more terrifying than the ones in daytime, their kids are traumatized and young and old alike are shaken more than just physically after every aftershock.
The effect of these can not be underestimated… the New Zealand News at 6.30 am local time told me that there had been 15 large aftershocks since midnight … …little wonder that people don’t get much sleep.
Air New Zealand is laying on $50 flights out of the city to the North Island, embassies are helping tourists replace travel documents lost in buildings collapsed or too unsafe to return to, businesses everywhere are helping if they can.
Hospitals in Christchurch have treated more than 1500 people with more minor injuries, and the central hospital alone has about 200 more seriously injured, plus those in intensive care…
But one message from family and friends is clear, locals are rising to the occasion and gladly stepping up to help.
My cousin, trained in rescue and with medic experience was packing his gear and heading into the city centre to offer to assistance in spite of reaching his own home for the first time after the quake only two hours before.
The university students have risen up just as they did after the September 4th Quake and are being directed by Civil Defense in residential neighbourhoods, helping elderly residents with heavy lifting of fallen cupboards, wardrobes, shelves etc and armed with shovels, digging out the mud and silt from houses and roads of both friends and strangers inundated by liquefaction.
Liquefaction is where the quake pushes the water- table upwards though the deep layers of sand and silt… the force makes it erupt through grass and even tarmac via miniature volcano-like structures ( approximately 6cm / 2 inches across) .
Last time my Uncle and Aunt had more of these tiny tell-tale cones in their back yard than they could count. Each of them spewed out large volumes of watery mud and silt, which first floods and then leaves a muddy residue that dries out leaving a mass that sets like concrete. In the September quake it was deep enough to flow through their house, it blankets streets, blocks drains, imprisons vehicles.
The students came last time with shovels and wheelbarrows and started digging and clearing… this time the numbers of students are swelling again to match the 10, 000 strong that came out to help in the last quake. I know that the manager of the Hanmer Holiday Homes is in the local fire brigade…they were in Christchurch yesterday and took a shift with the rescue workers in the Pyne Gould building. They pulled out survivors and also recovered some who sadly did not survive.
The Singaporean soldiers who were already in the South Island on joint military exercises are now helping with the central city security cordon. more than 600 specialist workers have arrived or are arriving from Australia, USA, Taiwan, Japan, UK and elsewhere … and Kiwi’s will welcome their help with open arms and heartfelt gratitude.
So… why is there a cookbook in today’s post? Well, yesterday I mentioned the old Edmond’s Building, iconic not only in Christchurch but also throughout New Zealand.
The Edmond’s Company used to make just Baking Powder but these days make more products too.
Edmond’s also made a cookbook and it’s estimated that there’s a copy in every New Zealand household. My mother told me once that in the ’50s or ’60′s Edmond’s gave away free copies to couples when notice of their marriages or engagements appeared in the newspapers, I’m not sure or not if indeed she got her copy that way.
I watched the Edmond’s building be demolished with great emotion, just as now I watch my home-city fallen with even greater emotion.. but one thing we have in common is that the Edmond’s cookbook lives on even though the building is gone… strong in spirit, and with it’s well known “Sure to Rise” motto.
Christchurch has been hit by natures wrecking ball, the painful process of facing up to the catastrophic damage is only just beginning to dawn on shocked faces and broken hearts as they stare at the long long hard haul of recovery.
Just as I know in my heart that no one can ever rebuild the iconic Edmond’s building, I am realistic enough to also know that the rebuilt Christchurch will never be the same face of the city to my children as the one I fondly grew up with.
There are only 4 million people in New Zealand but take a look at volume of the print runs of the Edmond’s cookbook… popularity comes in the strangest places and love for our treasures endures…
One thing I can be sure of though, The people of Christchurch, of Canterbury and of New Zealand will do what it takes to live up to the iconic spirit of the Edmond’s motto… Somehow no matter what it takes, with a little (or in this case, a lot) of help from their friends, they too will be …”Sure to Rise“.