Friday, March 18, 2011

Telling our stories

Today, it is a public holiday in Canterbury, to allow people to attend a memorial service for the people killed and Christchurch residents badly affected by the 22/2 earthquake. The service will be held in Hagley park but also televised live. For everyone in Christchurch and NZ, it will be a time to reflect on the events of the pass 3 weeks. How the forces of nature can change the way we live and approach our lives. In this, we share a recent experience with others around the world including the recent cyclone in Queensland, floods in Brisbane and the horrendous earthquake, tsunami and potential nuclear fallout in Japan.

Over the past few weeks, I have been humbled and fascinated by the diversity of stories emerging. The NZ Herald has a series of videos  recorded just a couple of days after the quake. Everyone has a story of where they were and what they were up to when the quake hit. Most people were going about their daily routines, travelling on the bus through Lytellton and witnessing the harbour site buildings collapse; driving through the centre of town and just missing being crushed by a falling building; having lunch in the Art's Centre and walking through the damaged city to get back to their cars; crossing the Heathcote river in their best shoes and up to their knees in mud to get home to Sumner with the Ferrymead bridge closed; trying to get home across the boulder strewn Summit Road while negotiating landslips.Through all, there are stories of people going out of their way to help each other, of a stranger going out of their way to provide a lift to an elderly friend through the flood and liquefaction; of young men piggybacking kids and women across the Heathcote; of students spending time not only to clear liquefaction silt but to listen to and provide comfort to elderly folk. All of these stories example the good that has come out of people through a time of uncertainty and adversity.

At CPIT, a series of stories of CPIT staff and students lending a hand is on the website. Telling stories is in many ways cathartic. In sharing our stories, we acknowledge we are more than individuals, but part of a community whereby common experiences bring us together. As classes start to re-convene, it is import for staff and students to have an opportunity to share their stories. It is a good way to build up class rapport, community and increase engagement. Darel Hall wrote about the students of 2011 being 'special' and in a way, everyone who has experienced something momentous in their lives, is changed. The experience, if supported and the good things that eventuate nurtured, leads us to become better people.
Long may the story telling continue.

2 comments:

Andrew said...

Amen to that, Selena! We've been very lucky how the world rushed to our aid so quickly.

Selena said...

Hi Andrew,

Yes. Although it is a stressful and sad time for many, it is heartening to also witness the many ways in which we, as fellow humans, go that extra mile to help each other and that this humanity crosses national, religious and social barriers.

Keep up with your blogging, Selena