As the waters subsided, so did the concern on the many faces in the threatened areas. Brisbane had officially been declared a disaster zone. Thousands of people were left without homes, and unfortunately some didn’t ever make it home. Just as quickly as it had come, three days later the water was now gone from the streets, the river now bearing the face of a guilty young boy who said he did nothing wrong but actually did.
It was barely dawn and half the neighbourhood was dressed to impress; board shorts, singlets, sunscreen and the necessary accessory of a broom. An army of locals helping to wash away the memories of the last three days. And it wasn’t just locals that came to help on those days after the flood. Tens of thousands of people from all around the city loaded onto buses to be shipped like troops to the affected areas around town. People who had never met in their lifetime would become closest of friends as victims of the water would open their homes to strangers so that these people could help by cleaning, washing out mud, removing destroyed furniture, even securing structural issues.
The stench of the drying river mud in the hot summer’s sun was of no concern as everyone got down and dirty. The flood was now of people as we all went from house to house, street to street, cleaning up and assisting wherever we could. People from outside of the city would set up sandwich areas so people could be fed onsite. As the days finished and people walked home (without power we were relegated to our homes at night), beers were shared between strangers on the side of the road where jokes and good chat about anything other than the destruction around us were shared. Some call this Aussie spirit, but there aren’t many other ways to look at such a situation. You can sit there like a sad sack going over what happened, or you can get up using the energy of those around you to crack on with the job at hand. This is the essence of teamwork and group cohesion.
As DC and I went from house to house, witnessing the smiles on the faces of those who had just lost everything was inspirational. Why were they happy? What possessed them to be so positive? I asked one middle-aged man as he sat on his warped wooden deck eating a sandwich made by one of the many helpers. “I’m smiling because so many people want to help me.” This weary yet strikingly upbeat man went on to tell me how he was so grateful to everyone and that he learned that no matter what happens in life, so long as you have the support around you everything is made easier.
If you read my first post you’ll note that this man I was speaking with was on the same page; so long as there is love around you, things are so much easier. This extends to teamwork. Without the help of a team tasks can be so much harder. I will share later on how teamwork and group cohesion helped me to secure the trip to space. Though for now, with things cleaned up as much as possible, it was time to crack on with my dream.
COMING UP: Your Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.)