Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Back from the holiday

There is so much that I want to write, and I'll get it all done eventually, but the one thing that really stays with me from our holiday is just how bad the drought is here right now. Looking at some of the dry arid land that we drove through, and talking to people wherever we stopped (and yes, the boy was again stunned that he can't take me anywhere without me having conversations with completely random people - more about that one later).

There is supposed to be water in here!

It really hurt me, seeing just how dry so much of the land is, and seeing all the dry rivers and creeks that we drove over. Watching sheep and cows trying to feed where dams are supposed to be really distressed me, and one stretch of highway that we drove along distressed me so much that we changed our route home so that we didn't go through it again. Everything was so dry and dusty, there was so little green, and I really just felt that it was so bleak, and there was so little hope for rain, the animals or the future in some of the people.

2 conversations stayed in my mind. I was talking to the owner of a pizza shop on our way home (he made great coffee!) and he was saying that they have now been in drought for 5 years, and haven't had good rain since Christmas 2003. His house is so badly cracked that he doesn't know what will happen to it when they get some rain. To keep his business afloat, he is doing sub contracting work driving trucks and buses. The whole community is so drought affected that most of his usual customers can't afford to eat in his shop any more. I also talked to a truckie in the pub on one of our overnight stays - his wife and son are working the farm while he keeps things afloat by driving trucks - he hates doing it, but the family needs to survive. While we were talking, his mobile rang, and it was his wife telling him that another of their neighbours had committed suicide. He told me that it would be the 8th funeral this year as a result of suicide in his community. He was truly shaken, and just didn't know where to turn or what to say. The bloke stereotype of strong silent type was shot to pieces right there.

I've been really sheltered - I'd never been through that part of Australia before - and seeing and hearing the devastation that our climate causes really shook me. I wanted to do something to improve things, but I just felt so useless and completely powerless.


jellyhead said...

Welcome back, thisisme!

Your travel tales are quite sobering - sad to hear of the arid countryside you've seen, and the struggling farmers.

I guess the only things we city dwellers can do is keep our water use to an absolute minimum (including using water-saver tap fittings, making sure taps don't drip etc etc). I know it doesn't feel like much, but I'm sure if everyone did this it would make a big difference.

I love the type of people who talk to anyone, anywhere. I'll be looking forward to hearing more about your chats with complete strangers!

jellyhead said...

Ah, yeah - with regards to my comment earlier - I truly DO understand that city dwellers trying to conserve water won't actually help the farmers' crops or animals in any way. Just in case you thought I had 1)made a dumb comment and 2)not realised it (dumb comment but did realise)

Right then.

Franny said...

Wow, that is totally sad...I have never seen anything like that in real life. Its different hearing about it first person, instead of just on the news.

Your post made these people's (and animals, poor things) plight REAL, you know?

BTW, my hubby makes friends with total strangers everywhere he goes too.

velvet girl said...

I've returned to this post time and time again and have been unable to comment on it.

To hear how difficult life is for these people and how their community is suffering is truly... heartbreaking.