Last time I wrote this blog I thought that normal programming would resume. Boy, was I so, so wrong.
Most of you would by now realise that the cyclone hit Zoë's village so hard that basically nothing was left standing. She's not able to go back as a result of the food and water crisis.
As a result we decided to see if we could help the village out by flying some water and rice to them, via helicopter, with Zoë doing the delivery. The situation there is pretty dire. This has turned out to be the most stressful thing we've ever attempted. We got help from an Australian company on the ground in Vanuatu. They could supply the aid if we got the helicopter. So we did. And then the aid couldn't be released back to them. So we went to plan b. Today was the day. But the helicopters were being repaired, on a medivac or commandeered by some very senior people. What followed was a day of extreme stress, phone calls, emails, begging and pleading. For a few hours it looked like all hope was lost. But...the outcome is that the helicopter is ready for tomorrow afternoon, the aid is ready and Zoë is probably camped at the heliport waiting to go.
The thing that I want to tell you about is generosity though. The helicopter isn't cheap. Alison and I certainly couldn't afford to pay for it. So we put the call out through social media, radio and newspaper. We thought that if we could get about half the amount needed that we could cover the rest somehow. What happened next was nothing short of astounding. In two days we had collected more than enough to pay for the helicopter. The rest of the money will go to a charity on the ground in Vanuatu. They should be well pleased. The amount of the donation doesn't matter. Some are huge and blew us away. Some came from people we know are struggling and we were humbled to receive those.
Huge thanks to the ABC, 2CC, news.com.au and the Canberra Times for their ongoing support. Emma Grey has been awesome at galvanising support via a number of avenues as well as talking on the radio about the project.
Today, at the lowest point I looked into a very, very dark space. It was tempting for the briefest of moments to curl up in a corner and give up but that would just be soft. My daughter is alive and well, my house is standing, I have food and water, friends and a family to love. Even the cat acknowledged my existence for the briefest of moments.
When I'm down this song always gives me strength. Always. The lyrics are included.
Rollins Band - Shine - https://youtu.be/uAXL4R_keTY
Please come back next week. I'll have a review of an amazing album from the band Empires of Eden as well as a whole swag of musical mayhem.
"And I think to myself...what a wonderful word" - Louis Armstrong, 1967