Saturday, January 15, 2011
Today, Nelle and I are hanging out at the airport. We missed our flight - and the next one isn't for 6 hours. Oops.
Oh, it's not all bad ... I've drawn her a train track on a piece of paper and she's rolling Thomas around and around and around. I've got my coffee, and a patch of sunshine through the window, and a happy toddler.
And on the TV at the gate, CNN is talking about the floods back home, in Brisbane. It's surreal, seeing my city inundated ... breathing a sigh of relief because our place is on a hill, and fine ... but knowing some of our friends' houses have been completely filled to the ceilings with water.
And the lady sitting next to me, and all the other people here at the gate, have no idea that this is real. That this is my city. These are my friends. That I can verify this isn't just something CNN's made up. I feel like I have a secret, something no one else knows.
It occurs to me that it's hard to imagine the reality (even for me, who lives there), because - hey, the news inundates us with news and pictures of catastrophe all the time, right? We kind of get used to it. Because at the same time as the flood in Brisbane, there's one in Brazil ... and one in Sri Lanka. It's almost overwhelming, isn't it? So we turn off a little bit. We couldn't possibly care and help everybody who's in trouble ...
But you know what? We can start. Do a little bit - and make a big difference.
If you're in Brisbane-
A brisbane blogger (Digella) has started a movement to take homebaked goodies to the SES emergency crews who are working tirelessly to help flood victims. If you want to participate, check out her website for details about where to take food.
2. Volunteer for clean-up!
The Lord Mayor of Brisbane has posted lots of information about volunteering around Brisbane here. Or help out your friends and neighbours.
Donate time, money, food, clothes, your spare bed.
(Our department at UQ has banded together to set up a Facebook site - so that people who weren't flooded can help those who were clean out their houses. And they're cleaning the campus day care centres, too! Wow.)
If you're anywhere-
Lots of lovely, crafty people are donating merchandise for the cause. You can read about some of these here.
2. Donate to the Premier's Queensland Flood Appeal!
Any little bit helps ... and you can find out how to donate here. This is the primary disaster relief fund for the flooding - even the Red Cross will direct you there.
And you know what? Already, $55 million has been donated by generous people out there. Wow. (But lots more will be needed, trust me)
3. Or, donate to the RSPCA.
Lots of animals have been displaced during the flood as well ... pets, wild animals, livestock. Help them out here.
Do whatever you can, with whatever you have to give. Even if you're far away, like I am.
And, to all of you in Brisbane - our hearts are with you. Truly.