It’s been ten months since Yasi and as we head towards Christmas it seemed a good time to do a reflection on how far we have come.
I asked three women I admire for their strength, resilience and contribution to Cassowary Coastal life to participate to reflect on this – Sal Badcock, Pam Galeano and Carolyn Bofinger.
Cyclone Yasi out of Control and Return to Kaos. (c) Sal Badcock
Sal shares her account on her website click here to read it all Cyclone Yasi Out of Control and Return to Kaos. Sal has documented her journey in photographs, facebook and emails sent to friends. Here is a small extract.
Where the heck has this year gone????
I do believe we have been living in an alternate Universe, just occasionally visiting the real one, only to discover that yet another month has disappeared into the chaotic void of 2011.
11 weeks ago we returned to our chosen place in space.
A place that has undergone many changes and transformations in the 30 weeks (or 210 days) since we abandoned it first to the elements and then to the builders on 14th February – Happy Valentines Day!
Each visit was fraught with pain and sadness and anguish. We’d come here full of energy to do things, only to crawl away beaten. Our house was crying out in pain, and we couldn’t help it.
Now we are home again. I had not realised just how badly it was affecting me being away from my place in space and my home. (c) Sal Badcock
Sal on top of house repairs has been giving art workshops, singing at public events and weddings and singing requests outdoors in the afternoons as she did before the cyclone came along.
Pam has written a guest blog about her life since Cyclone Yasi, as she doesn’t blog I have asked permission to share her whole contribution. I thank her and will be quoting from it in an upcoming ABC Open blog. Very soon the videos I have been making on the Galeanos will be completed, just doing a tiny bit more polishing.
Joe and Pam – After Yasi
(c) Pam Galeano
The morning after we were grateful to be alive, unharmed, with our house and personal goods mostly intact. We felt shell-shocked and awed by the power of a wind that could uproot huge corner posts of our farm sheds hurling them away into cane paddocks and by the might of a tidal surge that could barrel kilometres up the Hull River and into our crop.
For two days we had no running water. For a week we had no power, then the welcome, but limited and noisy power of a generator for another two weeks. Life for those three weeks was very different and we felt disoriented. We worked hard physically, made necessary phone calls, took necessary photographs, filled out official forms – but it was difficult to concentrate.
During the fourth post-cyclone week I slowed down, appreciated the air conditioning and wrote a children’s picture book text – a cyclone story! Joe kept organising and doing farm recovery work but was sleeping after lunch when possible.
Following that our lives seemed fairly normal superficially (unless repair work was going on in the house) but our emotions remain closer to the surface and we need more sleep.
Work on the house was completed late September but Joe worked the cane season without one decent farm shed. Foundations for two new sheds are being poured today.
Watching nature cover her scars with green leaves and bright flowers is solace for us.
We try not to show it but we both have more ups and downs than is usual. I know we require a little more recovery time. We need to be gentle and tolerant with each other and with our traumatised community.
You can find out more about Pam’s picture books here. Looking forward to her cyclone book for kids, it will be a special one.
Ten Months Since Yasi
(c) Carolyn Bofinger
It’s ten months on since Cyclone Yasi passed over our paradise neighbourhood and we’re now settled in Brisbane, loving our new faster-paced lifestyle. Everyone has settled into their employment, schools, sporting clubs and music tuition and seems grateful for the move and the opportunity to meet new friends.
We miss our FNQ friends terribly but seem to find this weird kind of peace in skype, phone calls and quirky day to day text messages, not to mention the quick visits to and from coast life to city life. It’s a similar kind of warmth we shared with our family when we lived so far away.
We’re grateful for many simple aspects of our new Brisbane lifestyle, like seeing our families and sharing in celebrations … and riding along bike paths for Sunday morning restaurant breakfasts … and stumbling upon another great school for the boys to build their childhood school day memories from … and finding Paddington shops once again … and the novelty of driving in traffic … and spending time with childhood besties … at a whim … and the feeling of living in our own house once more … and creating a new home … and going to see live music … and taking ferris wheel rides overlooking our new sky-rise backyard … and eating out during the week just because we can. The sounds and smells and outooks are different.
Often we talk about the beach smells and sounds that we miss whilst in the four walls of our new ‘forever’ house or the feeling of sand between our toes when we walk outside.
Then we take a walk through the creek at our doorstep or listen to the birds in the bush and we remember life is what you make it and for us … that’s happy times in whichever part of this small world we live.
Carolyn can be found if you click here. She is a wonderful photographer and will be featured in upcoming ABC Open video documentaries as well.
I’ll tell my family’s story in a second blog. Part 2 of this one.
(c) of Respective contributors remains with them, this compilation copyright of June Perkins.