Thursday, February 24, 2011

Christchurch revisited

I heard about the latest earthquake in a typical understated way.
One of my Christchurch workmates emailed "Big earthquake about an hour ago, having issues with communications, please start emergency management team right away".

I was in Wellington, doing some pretesting for planned work later that evening. An hour later all national planned work was canceled, and we stood in shock as the television news showed us the damage.

Within 24 hours, we had filled our vehicle with as much food and water as we could carry, and caught the ferry to the South Island. Stopping in Blenheim, we hired a trailer and purchased over 300 litres of fuel, before continuing on to Christchurch.

We arrived in the city as darkness fell. One of us dashed home to recover his household items, and ended up pitching a tent in his front lawn for the night. Another settled in to the night shift, while I took a car and headed to my aunts to grab some sleep.

Today we worked through a myriad of issues trying to keep our cellular network up for emergency services and our customers. You see the best of people in times like this - people reaching out to help complete strangers. You see rules being bent, so that something that might take a week, can now take a day. You feel that on days like today, as a species, we might actually have long term prospects.

Though it all we now refuse to watch the news - we know the suffering - we work to help. Seeing the coverage would make the issues seem too big to overcome - it's important to know that this city is not dying. Many people have died, and that is very sad, but many more have survived; have homes to live in, while power and running water are slowly being restored.

I'm not sure about the role of the media at times like this. I'm torn between highlighting the needs of the people who live here, and their privacy. Many of the people I feel are being taken advantage of - I wonder if they will be angry when they look back. I just don't know.

Tomorrow we may have enough hot water for showers. I might be able to wash my clothes - I originally planned to be in Wellington for only 2 days and packed light.
We will make more progress tomorrow, and the city will respond in kind. There will be much more good than bad, and this community will grow through it all.

Christchurch will endure; if only those outside believe, as we believe.

Have some faith in us. Please.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Long hours at the office

Some days I don't feel like a good person.
Some days I am led by emotion
And when I'm tired, and stretched mentally, my veneer is stretched to transparency.

At times like these, when the world becomes black and white;
you're either with me or against me.

I find it odd that even when stretched to these extremes, certain things can still keep you in check.

I've come to discover that respect can help you step back for the edge of self destruction.
That when someone you admire has something to say you can file everything else away for another day. That listening to that person can often calm the storm inside.

The problem evolves when you don't respect the person talking to.
Any of the words you share, either with yourself or others,
Can later make you feel like a bad person, even if the words themselves are valid.

There's something to be said about honesty being the best policy.
And living to fight another day.
But life never conforming entirely to either ideal, just makes a mockery of the entire situation. :)