I think almost everyone of you has heard or read about the devastating bush fires in Australia.
Some of you know that my husband and I own a house in Queensland, Australia. For both of us, Australia is the country where we see our future. Although the centre of our lives is still in Germany, we are also so called permanent residents of Australia since a few years now.
We love that country.
The news that have been reaching us for some time now are simply terrible.
Since Christmas we accommodate in our Australian house the family of our employee, who lives in and takes care of the house all year round. He called us just before Christmas because he needed more days off since he had to help his family. He told us that his parents and his sister's family had to leave their homes as the bush fires were coming closer. Not sure if it was his worries or our English, but it took some effort to explain to him that he should bring his family to our house.
To this day they do not know whether their houses are still intact or not, nor do they know if and when they can return. I am unable to imagine the situation they are in. At least they had enough time to take mementos and other valuables with them.
A few days ago we talked on the phone with an acquaintance who moved to Australia ten years ago. She and her husband lost anything. Their house burnt down completely. They just had enough time to grab some important documents before they were evacuated.
When she said: "There's nothing left, no plant, no bird, but dead koalas everywhere..." I was overwhelmed by sadness. We knew the area where she lived.
We have at least started to take some actions to be able to help some families to rebuild their homes. Well, it will be a drop in the bucket.
Right now we are torn whether we fly to Australia or not.
The house is safe and has room enough even with the two of us. But should we disturb the family who lives in a stranger's house? Should we get to know them personally or is it better to leave them their privacy for now?
Would we be able to support them emotionally if we were there?
What else can we do there at the moment?
So many questions but no answer.
What would you do?