World Thinking Day 2011

January and February at Pax Lodge have been busy. I’ve had emails by the hundreds and we’ve had some wonderful individual guests and groups stay with us. We’ve had some sad farewells as volunteers have gone on to new adventures, and we’ve also had a lot of fun.

January

Highlight? Possibly Mary-Anne’s home-made lamingtons on Australia Day. Mmm! Or possibly the trip to Paris with Mary-Anne, staying in Q’s apartment (view of the Eiffel Tower: check!), seeing Q and AG, dripping paint on an almost naked guy and visiting EuroDisney, where we got chatted up by Jack Sparrow and I fell in love with Stitch all over again, while lamenting the lack of Aladdin merchandise.

A package from Mum arrived in January containing Fruit Puffs – the same week I joined Slimming World in an effort to become healthier! I made some lolly cake and the volunteers LOVED it!

Lolly cake (click the picture to see the website I took this photo from)

As well as joining the weight loss group, I’ve started going to the gym on a Monday morning, and decided to run another 5km for charity. This time I’ll be raising money for WAGGGS in the DoItForCharity Super Hero Run on the 15th of May (which happens to be my big brother’s birthday). If you’d like to make a donation or sponsor me, get in touch. I’ll post more details as I get them.

February

It was great to see Anna, over from Germany for a brief visit, and her ex-flatmates Nicola and Emma, who have just moved to London. I got a very amusing drunken phone call from them while I was at work at 2pm on Waitangi Day (well, it was Waitangi Day at home, but only the 5th here, due to the time difference).

In early February, I went with Ruth, Katie and Mary-Anne to Edinburgh for Ruth’s Queen’s Guide Exploration. I can’t explain why, but I was enchanted. For some reason I have this romantic notion of living in Scotland, and Edinburgh did nothing to discourage it. Sure it’s cold, and maybe I wouldn’t like it if I stayed longer than four days, but it felt like home.

We had a lot of fun exploring the city, with laughs, shopping and sightseeing. I felt really positive, and realised that that’s how I’ve felt for most of the year! Things are going well for me.

On the 17th, I realised I still haven’t sent Andrew’s t-shirt to him (the one I bought over 2 months ago in Morocco), sorry, little brother! Happy birthday!

In the run-up to this year’s World Thinking Day I was really excited. My first Thinking Day at a World Centre! Last weekend we had adults, Brownies, Guides and Rangers from different countries take part in our International activities all through the building. We had games, crafts, songs and information from Egypt, Norway, Argentina, UK, Australia, USA, Austria, New Zealand and South Korea as well as a station focusing on this year’s theme: Empowering girls and women will change our world, and a ‘carnival’ run by the Friends of Pax Lodge. It was exciting to see everybody so enthusiastic, and fun to share this special Guiding day with so many others.

When I was woken to a knock on my bedroom door early on the 22nd, the last thing I expected was bad news. Maia told me of the earthquake in Christchurch and warned me it was worse than last time. My first thought was for my cousin Paege and her baby Lucas (9 1/2 months).

By the time I got my computer on, nearly 8 hours had passed since the magnitude 6.3 earthquake shook through Christchurch city at 12.51pm on Tuesday, 22 February (11.51pm Monday, here in the UK). Messages on facebook reassured me that members of my family were all okay. Most friends, too, had posted, letting us know they were safe. Shaken, in shock, without power or water, but safe.

I hadn’t been aware that a friend from university has recently started working for Canterbury Television. When I first saw that he was last known to be on the 5th floor of the crumpled CTV building, it didn’t really register. I thought about it for a long time before the news that he hasn’t been heard from since the quake sink in. Ever since, I’ve been reading the news, checking his facebook page, refreshing the news sites, hoping, just hoping that somehow they’ll find him alive and well. I’m so sick of reading the news. I’m tired, sleeping most of the day, checking the updates all night, but I just have to know what’s happening. He can’t be gone. He’s too good to be gone.

Rhys Brookbanks is still missing. I can’t stop thinking about him, or his family and fiancee. I get a sick feeling inside whenever I think about them, with all the worry.

World Thinking Day (Founders Day in Scouting) is a day for Guides and Scouts to think of all of our sisters around the world, especially those less fortunate than us. Usually, New Zealand is among the fortunate countries, but not this year. National Headquarters are based in Christchurch. Click here to read a message from National President, Sonia Faulkner, regarding the effects of the earthquake on the organisation.

This is a Thinking Day I won’t soon forget. I’m thinking about my Guiding sisters around the world. I’m thinking about Rhys, his family and fiancee. I’m thinking about my friends, family and all the people I don’t even know in Christchurch. Kia kaha.

The earthquake and the aftermath

There have been nearly 5,000 aftershocks in the Canterbury region since the massive 7.1-magnitude quake on 4th September, 2010. That earthquake, the same size as the one that hit Haiti last year, was not fatal, largely due to New Zealand’s reinforced construction methods for buildings, and the fact that it struck in the middle of a freezing winter’s night. Aftershocks are expected to continue until at least September 2011.

Since Tuesday’s magnitude 6.3 quake, hundreds of aftershocks have already been felt, some up to magnitude 5 on the richter scale.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Rescue and recovery teams from New Zealand are working hard and teams from around the world have joined them. The University of Canterbury Students Association has recruited an army of volunteers to help. People around the country are opening their homes to refugees of the quake.

123 bodies have been found. About 200 people are missing. Water is having to be transported into the city, and that must be boiled before it is safe to drink. The CBD has been destroyed. About a quarter of the buildings will have to be demolished rather than rebuilt. People are scared and stressed.

If you would like to help by making a donation, use only official websites, as scams have already appeared. Don’t follow links, type in the web address yourself, ensure basic words (such as Christchurch) are spelled correctly and that any payment page is secure (i.e. https://)

The New Zealand Red Cross site has been crashing, so you can also use

Monetary donations are the most efficient way for most of us to help out. The money can be put to use where it is needed the most, and can be put to use quickly.

Read this article about the video below.

xEmma

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Categories: Guiding, New Zealand, Saving the World, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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