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Saturday, January 15, 2011
The Sludge Army
There were 12,000 people who volunteered today in Brisbane, I was one of them.
I was excited as I lined up for registrations and for the bus that would take me out into the streets that had been hit the hardest by the floods in Brisbane. There were so many people that showed up that they had to turn some away, luckily I was able to go.
We got onto council buses that were driven by drivers who were donating their time.
Armed with brooms, shovels, gloves, hats and gumboots we were delivered to a hard hit suburb, Rocklea.
The first thing that hit me when I arrived was the smell, I can't really describe it. A mix between rotting garbage, mud and a fishy smell.
The next thing I almost slipped over! There is mud, a thick layer of slimy mud over everything. Even though there has been sun shining for a few days it hasn't fully dried the mud. AND it's over everything, belongings, trees and the street.
It was heart breaking to see every house, street after street with every single thing they owned out on the side walk. In the picture below you can see the yellow excavator working it's way down the street, lifting everything off the sidewalk into a dump truck to be hauled away.
The house I helped at for the afternoon literally had nothing left inside when we were done, all the plaster board had been taken off the walls, the cabinets pulled out and even the kitchen sink was out on the side walk by the end of the day.
Here's me in the front with the family I helped out - you can see the pile of their household belongings, it was piled higher than a car.
The water level in this house came up to about the same height as the railing. Some other houses were fully under.
I'm exhausted, happy and heart broken all at once. Going out today gave me satisfaction that I had begun helping but gave me drive to help more and more. Our Lord Mayor said 'this is not a race but a marathon'. He is so right, I think my crafting will take a back seat for a while so that I can volunteer when I can over the coming months - because this recovery will take months and months and months.