Monday, 7 March 2011

Christchurch Earthquake "Fiona – our quake refugee"

Many people have opened their homes to people who have suffered in the quake – it’s the Kiwi way!  This is our story.

On the evening of 24 Jan, just 2 days after the quake, Fiona (not her real name, but one that Jeff kept mistakenly calling her!) appeared in the motel reception.  She wanted to know if we had any rooms, which we didn’t, being full.  She volunteered, in average English, that she had no passport and no money - it was all just a little bit confusing.  Jeff decided to check out the story a bit more because something was just not right.  We soon learnt that Fiona was from Germany and was staying nearby but it was quake damaged and had no power.  We also learnt that she had not really had much to eat since the quake.  We invited her in for a bit of dinner which I think was Spagetti on toast – it was only day 2 after all!

We found out a little more and advised her to go to Hagley Park and register with the Red Cross, especially since she had nothing with her.  And we told her to come back and see us after that.  We needed a bit of time to think and after giving her some food for breakfast and a torch, we reluctantly sent her on her way.

Fiona helps us celebrate "redandblackday"

Fiona returned early afternoon on 25 Feb. after registering with the Red Cross.  She was more cheerful and said she had met someone who had offered her a place to stay.  But it just sounded just a little bit dodgy and so we offered her the option of coming to stay with us.  Fiona stayed with us for just over a week and in that time she…found her passport, got a new phone, opened a bank account, got some money from home and got her life back on track. 
Fiona is here studying English and was in an inner city building when the quake struck, they ran out of the building leaving everything behind.  Having no family for support she was obviously in a frozen state for the first 2 days, not knowing what to do.  It was then that she walked into our office.

Awww.... shucks.... we got a real nice thank you card!

Fiona left us 2 days ago heading South to see the country and is going to visit my sis for a farm stay in Western Southland.  She may well be back in Christchurch before heading off home and we will welcome her back as a part of our family again.  Cos that’s what us Kiwis do!

1 comment:

  1. That's amazing,

    I haven't got any word's !
    hmm..well.. only 5-> i really enjoyed this time.

    I gonna visit you, bevor I leave NZ.

    hug you "Fiona"