In a family or community when some of us hurt- we all hurt. When some of us succeed we all celebrate.
Many of those in our community from Australia are hurting. We need to stand with them in this time of crisis. I got this letter today. I have stripped the identifiers to protect privacy. I simply wanted to share to create an awareness that will inspire us to some collective action.
Just need to share this ... for those overseas - more than 130 people died in a bushfire on Saturday and the death toll is still rising.
On Saturday, we (my colleagues and friends) lost one of our students in the Bushfire - I taught him from Year 8 through to Year 12 - he got the best score in IT Apps for my class last year. He stayed with his parents to protect their home and all three perished - his older brother and sister weren't home at the time. He was a school prefect, involved in musicals and drama productions, a great student and topped many subjects. Many of last year's Yr 12s came in today and the school community is devestated.
Also, one of my colleagues who retired 2 years ago and his wife have not been heard of since Saturday, so we are fearing the worst for him - his kids were taught at the school making it even more difficult.
A new student to the school was very upset this morning and when I took a closer look, it was the daughter of someone I knew (not very well). When I enquired, it turns out her father wasn't responding to phone calls and hadn't been heard of for quite some time. Her mother picked her up and they went to look for him.
Hopefully, tomorrow brings some closure on these missing people.
Many families and kids lived in the area and were on high alert over the weekend and continue to be on high alert. Buses aren't running, so they can't get to school. Many have lost their homes, livestock, businesses, etc. 3 colleagues lost their homes while about 15 - 20 families lost their homes.
The back of the school property (a back paddock) got burnt which makes me wonder whether our emergency plan good enough if it escalated.
It was a tough day speaking to kids in class today and they told stories about their situation or family or friends not heard of or losing everything. The devestation is amazing.
While we don't live too close, we are close enough to hear the choppers, smell the smoke, see the haze and be aware that if the wind shifted in our direction for long enough from the wrong angle, there are many green (or dry) wedges that could put our house under ember attack. Fire plan is to just pick up the kids and animals and leave. Let's hope it doesn't get to this.
This sort of day makes you remember to live each day like it's your last.
Update: How we can help right now. PLP is working on an idea with Jenny Luca in Melbourne too. More info will be forthcoming.