Survival, we all need a helping hand sometimes. 

As we begin to sit out Cylone Debbie fresh from Aussie, we are told to keep our survival kits handy and be ready to evacuate. I’m sure many people are thinking…’gulp, yeeah’. We all have great plans…or maybe we’ve done it and stolen from it and never restocked…or the tins have rusted and the biscuits gone mouldy… or the water leaked and everything got wet. All these things happened to our survival kit after starting it way back even before the Christchurch earthquake, and each major event has me thinking, I must restock it.

Right now I’m also thinking about those living in war torn countries for whom survival has been years long, no town council or relief aid to help them ‘get thru’. I can’t even begin to imagine what kind of stress some families endure. Lauren and her friend, Nadia have started a fundraiser called ‘The Goodness Gathering’, bringing people together for one day and for one charity, because ‘good CAN be built in a day’. Google this and it will work no matter where in the world you are. 
Take a look, The Goodness Gathering, because good CAN be built in a day! because like me, you will be impressed.

The children of Syria


That’s the beauty of technology and the other amazing thing is that when a lot of people come together with small amounts, they can make a massive difference to those who need it. The last one the girls organised funded wells in two Indian villages. That’s massive any way you look at it! I’m so proud of two young girls who are not just globally minded, but who are making a real difference. Now you have clicked on the link and know what its about, perhaps you can pop a few dollars in the kitty and watch that basket grow!

A little while ago I decided it could be a little exercise for our home schooled grandchildren almost 4, 6 and 8 years old, to get our survival kit sorted. I thought this would make me start it… and hopefully finish it.

We first sat and talked about what might happen if there was a disaster like an earthquake. The kids had been to the museum the week before and experienced ‘Earthquake house’ so it was fresh in their mind. We practiced dropping to a turtle, making ourselves as small as we could and covering the back of our heads to protect from falling debris. We started to look at places that were good to drop down to. An interior wall is good, under or beside a big piece of furniture could be good but is it under a big mirror or painting that might be hanging on that wall ok? You might not have a choice.

I told the children a story a lady told me. She was outside hanging out the washing when a big one came rolling through her property. The earth moved so much she could hardly stand and dropping down she grabbed the clothesline, but it too was swinging madly with the centre pole lifting and falling. We imagined how hard it would be to walk when the earth did this. We practiced what this would be like.

The lady said she in fact couldn’t walk. So if where you were wasn’t safe, we talked about crawling rather than walking. Then we practiced dropping where we were and crawling to a safer place and if we couldn’t crawl, then we stayed curled up like a turtle, just where we were. The kids took it very seriously. Its a drill they practiced at playcentre regularly enough that it wasn’t strange or silly. Annie and Chee told us their two little ones have never commented on the earths movements down in Christchurch. They have grown up with it and it’s just what happens. The Earth moves.

We talked about volcanic eruptions, after all this is most likely for us here and they knew about this too. They told me about lava flow and dust. They had seen it in the Earthquake house. We talked about tsunamis and flooding. Having no power, no toilet, no house! What would we do? We brainstormed. We could dig a hole for a toilet. We could sleep under the trees. We could make a fire to cook, We could catch rabbits and eat them. We could dig up stuff from the veg garden. How resourceful they were. Aaand what if we see someone who needs something? We share. So nice to see some of what we say goes in. 

Interspersed through the serious thought was nearly four year old Tai. “I know! He would shout. We could get a helicopter to take us away.” But what if the man with a helicopter doesn’t know we need help…”Hmmm, I know” his eyes all lit up like his answer was so going to work. “We ring the man with a helicopter and tell him to come and get us” But what if the phones don’t work. “Hmmm, I know! We could go to the fire station and tell them we need a helicopter.” But what if the roads are broken up? “Hmmm, I know! We run to the fire station and tell the man we need a helicopter”. But what if there is big flooding and we can’t even run on the road. “Hmmm, I know! We go to Koro’s and get his waka and go to the fire station and tell them we need a helicopter.” Pretty simple really…and where exactly is this helicopter going to take us? I didn’t ask but isn’t it cool that nothing is insurmountable. Young children are so solution focused. We should foster that, I think to myself.

We decided we needed to get some stuff ready and a couple of booklets were there to help as we made lists of things we needed. They say plan for three days but we decided to plan for five as we are in the countryside we can manage a bit longer perhaps and maybe the people in the town will get help first. I gave everyone areas to be in charge of. Tai, You’re in charge of toilet paper. We need enough for three days but maybe five, “Right!” He dashes off. Haha!  

Kahu you can be in charge of the medical kit. We went through the list and figured we had everything we needed, except eye wash and dust masks. In a volcano they might be needed. We lay all our medical stuff out before checking off a suggested list. Wheriko, you’re in charge of food. We all discussed what needed to go into these different bundles but one person was in charge of the final selection and pack. Baked beans are good. Pasta may not be so good, firstly it needs water to be cooked. We included some pasta, but where my last pack was almost all pasta stuff, this was mostly canned goods.

Wheriko checks out the bandage supply

We needed a minimum of 72 litres of water for 8 of us. I googled water storage and figured if we buy some which will be specifically for drinking, and bottle some of our own, the other will be for cooking and hand washing etc. Still need to buy some more for that quota!

Then we went shopping. OMG it was crazy trying to keep everyone on task. Checking use by dates. Deciding on sizes and amounts and best options. I couldn’t wait to get to the car. Exhausting business grocery shopping!

We packed into our click clack sealed containers, checking as we went. Last things to go is a torch and radio that doesn’t use batteries and dust masks. You’re in charge of that I told Gilbert over dinner. He smiled as if I was being a little over the top when I said dust masks. “What do you want dust masks for?” he asked. Volcanooooeees! we told him…and you won’t think its very funny if it happens.

“We’re coming to your place”. Tara told me when I told her what we were doing. Well I hope you’ve got a helicopter Miss. Just in case the roads are broken or flooded!

So……Ummmm, Our survival kits OK. Hows yours?

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3 Responses to Survival, we all need a helping hand sometimes. 

  1. moniejoe says:

    Hahahaha mum! As I recall you didn’t think Tai’s “solution focused” ideas were as funny as you made them in here… well atleast not after the first 3 hours of them! 😂😂

      • renanopolis says:

        Thank you for the mention and the link Mum, it’s totally true if we all give a little!!! 😊😊 people can donate here, givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/goodnessgatheringforchildrenofsyria 😊 and good work on the emergency kit – and keeping the kids on task. Apparently if Vancouver has an emergency we are buggered haha! Don’t worry, it’ll all be okay in the end ❤️

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